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12-04-2003, 12:34 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Ottawa
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"Get him some linemates."

Simple enough observation, but here's my counter question: where?

I mean, it's not like we're over-abundant with qualified second line players here in Montreal. Right now, we've a serious lack of talent up front and until the kids start to come of age, I really see no legitimate reason why we, as Hab fans, should expect to see a significant upgrade on the talent for Ribby's wings. Gainey cannot affort to go out into the market and sacrifice the future just to make Ribby feel more comfortable in his role. The success for Ribby needs to come from within.

Is he overrated? Absolutely, and particularly in the Montreal media where he's the darling French-speaking wunder-boy with superior passing skills and wonderful hockey sense. Now, let's not go the other way with this and completely disagree because for certain Ribs has superior vision and a deft touch on the puck which equates to quality chances for whomever gets into the open for a shot. His skating isn't the best (though it's improved significantly since his younger years) and his shot is barely more than AHL quality, at least in terms of power. For Houde and Pedneault to be constantly falling in worship at the Alter Of Ribeiro makes them look silly, to say the least, because he'll never amount to a first line player in the NHL.

I agree, though, that he could be far better than he is if he had better wingers. They'd have to be big, strong, and willing to do most of the grunt work to get Ribs the puck. They'd also have to be of sniper quality, and looking at all those qualities, I'd have to say that it would be expensive indeed for the Habs to go out and get two power forwards. The big question remains, though, about how good he'd be even with those wingers. I maintain that he's no more than a second line player.

Consider Brendan Morrison of the Canucks. He's between Bertuzzi, one of the best power men in hockey, and Naslund, one of the most talented. Brendan is a smaller player who is a set-up man, much like Ribeiro. Take him out and insert Ribs, and do you think that line would continue to be as successful? You'd be mistaken if you thought so, as far as I can see. Morrison does so much more: he's solid on his skates, is excellent down low (ask his linemates), works the penalty kill effectively, is a player that coach Crawford has out in critical situations. Ribeiro isn't any of those things.

True, Ribs is still young and still might develop more, and I'm with the majority when I say that I hope his development continues. However I do see a limit to where he can go; part of it based on his size, but also part based on the attitude which has caused him problems since his junior days. Morrison doesn't have that attitude problem - he's a fighter and on a line with two of the biggest egos in hockey, not only does Brendan hold his own, but he gets in a few licks and keeps his linemates in line. I don't think Ribeiro has that strength of character, or if he doesn, we've never had the opportunity to see it.

Bottom line, as far as I'm concerned, Ribs is a good second liner for the Montreal Canadiens of today, but I don't see him lasting in Montreal beyond a couple more years because by that time Higgins, Pleks, or one of the other youths will have developped into something far more.

It's a shame that some can't see past the 'idol' status that he carries, but it's also understandable. He's also got that 'French' thing going on, which the Montreal media and many fans love to cheer. More power to them, but it's not the reality of the situation.

A concerned fan.

Guy! is offline