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12-24-2003, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by HABS-65
And no Saku is not better All - Around .
Originally Posted by Leprechaun
Rivet was playing man-to-man with Grier and he was on Grier but Souray and Saku was playing tourist there....anyway, that was not my point !

My point was WHY Saku is better ?

For me they are pretty close and the edge of Saku is only his experience !
There's really no point in arguing opinion, but Koivu's better in every facet of the game. He produces more, he's far stronger along the boards, he drives the net better, he gets under the opposition's skin, he's a superior skater with more gears and plays far better in traffic. Koivu doesn't appear to be as creative because he makes safer plays and makes them quickly with no hesitation or fancy moves. Much of the creativity that Ribeiro displays is junior-aged hot-dogging moves.

I'm not denying that Ribeiro's creative. He is, and I've never doubted that he is a talented playmaker. But his plays are high risk, softer passes that are often intercepted in the offensive and neutral zone (a la the pass to Souray which Bondra intercepted for a breakaway). Those types of plays can't happen, but they're a constant with Ribeiro. He's cut them down this season, but there's still at least one big giveaway per game that results in a scoring chance due to Ribeiro.

Koivu's lined up against the opposition's scoring line, while Ribeiro's lined up against the opposition's weakest two-way line. There's a reason for this: Julien recognizes Ribeiro is the team's weakest center in the defensive zone, and he's still not polished offensively in that he'll make high risk plays that can result in turnovers. This is how a coach should handle a young center; placing them in a situation where they can succeed. But some fans (like you and HABS65) don't seem to realize that Ribeiro's getting better quality ice time (eg. weaker opposition) than a Koivu, Juneau or Begin is, so that he's more likely to get better scoring opportunities.

I don't want to cut down Ribeiro's play. He's much improved, and I like the dedication he's shown this year. I'm still not pleased with his play in the defensive zone or neutral zone, and I find he still takes long shifts, whereas you'll notice Koivu is usually the first man off on his line for a change in shifts. This is important as the shorter shifts are kept, the higher intensity the team can play throughout a game.

Most importantly, Koivu's a warrior. If he's going through a scoring slump, then he'll dedicate his game to playing more physically or playing stronger in his own zone. He has more to his game than just scoring, and this has been developed over the years. He'll aim to drive the net more, draw penalties, and he'll take runs at the opposition to spark his team. There's VERY few players that will play with the amount of intensity and dedication in the league as Koivu, and even fewer who can put points on the board as he can.

Ribeiro shows some signs every so often of having grit, but he's a point producer first and foremost, and not a consistent one at that (yet).

Honestly, I don't see much point in comparing the two players. It's clear that Koivu is the leader of this team, and he's an excellent player for any team to have. Ribeiro's exceeded my expectations this season and developed his game, but he's still got a ways to go. I think it's a fantastic opportunity for him to be the second line center to another creative smallish center, so he doesn't have the burden of offense, and can round out his game.

Mike8 is offline