Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ribeiro anxiously awaits 1st game versus Habs

Mike Ribeiro is looking forward to facing the Habs for the 1st time in his career tonight as the Stars host the Montreal Canadiens at 8 p.m.

Ribeiro was drafted by his hometown franchise in 1998, 45th overall with Montreal's 2nd round draft choice. After spending 6 seasons with the Habs, he was dealt just prior to the beginning of the 06-07 season to the Stars in exchange for veteran defenceman Janne Niinimaa. Ribeiro went on to lead the Stars in points last season, while Janne Niinimaa not only had a miserable stay with the Canadiens, but is now not even playing in the NHL. Despite being dealt away, "Ribs" holds no hard feelings against the Habs and their General Manager Bob Gainey.

"They probably know the trade was wrong for them so I would love to score a goal because that would feel good, but getting traded is part of the job,” he said. “One thing I thought that (Montreal GM) Bob Gainey did was trade me to a place where he thought I would fit in and enjoy and he was right. I always appreciated that about him and thought it was a nice gesture for him to send me to an organization and city like Dallas."

Mike Ribeiro is once again leading the Stars in scoring with 18 goals and 18 assists through 36 ganes. He has 7 goals and 5 assists over his last 7 outings. He has found his spot alongside winger Brendan Morrow, while the third player on the line has altered 3 times this season due to injury. It began with Niklas Hagman, then shifted to Jere Lehtinen, who then suffered an injury and isn't expected to return for another month. Lehtinen's 19 points in 21 games are missed for the time being, but with injury comes opportunity, and gritty forward Antti Miettinen was given the chance to pad his stats. He has responded very well, as the line continues to produce on a nightly basis. Miettinen and Morrow will surely be looking to feed Ribeiro with the hopes that he pots one versus his former club on this big night.

"It will definitely be special for me,” Ribeiro said. “A lot of people back home will be watching the game on television and I'm really looking forward to it."

The last time these two clubs met was January 16th, 2006, in Montreal. The Habs went on to win the game by a final score of 4-2. The teams also haven't met in Dallas since playing to a 1-1 draw on December 31, 2003.

*with extracts taken from and's game preview.

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