Capitals center Mike Ribeiro wasn’t too happy with the refereeing in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Ribeiro was high-sticked on a faceoff during the first period and again late in the third period and couldn’t draw a call either time. So in frustration he yapped at one of the linesmen and drew a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct call and a 10-minute misconduct penalty that essentially ended his night.
The first incident came during a faceoff against Jets center Olli Jokinen with 4:54 left in the first period. Jokinen’s stick clearly smacked Robeiro under the right eye, drawing blood and the need for five stitches during intermission. The second came with 11:11 left in the third – again during a faceoff with the feisty Jokinen.
“So the second time I got high-sticked close to my throat again I looked around and he’s staring at me. I’m like, ‘Why are you not calling this one?’ Well I guess he wasn’t happy about that,” Ribeiro said. “I guess I said stuff that my kids won’t like too much. I just feel like you’re not allowed to talk to them anymore about situations that happens in a game. They believe they’re like above us or like more power, they feel power, I don’t know. I think I need to just stay focused on my game and let them ref the way they want to ref.”
Remember, Ribeiro is sensitive about those kinds of plays. While playing for the Dallas Stars in a Jan. 6, 2010 game against the New York Rangers, Ribeiro took a stick to the throat from Chris Higgins and later needed a tracheotomy. The injury was one of the scariest in the NHL in recent memory and the half-moon scar remains visible to this day. Just check out Ribeiro’s profile shot on NHL.com. He missed a month after that incident. Ironically, Ribeiro was whistled for a high-stick infraction of his own on Saturday in the season opener against Tampa Bay. His stick came up and caught Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier in the upper chest.
“There’s no rule saying that you’re not allowed to be low on the draw. But there’s a rule saying if you get high-sticked and you bleed, well the guy has a penalty,” Ribeiro said. “Well if you don’t call it… I don’t know, when I got up and I looked around and everyone was just standing there and no one reacted, I was just trying to figure out what happened.”
The referees for the game were Brad Meier and Dennis LaRue with Greg Devorski and Andy McElman serving as the linesmen. Later in the period – after Ribeiro’s pass to teammate Troy Brouwer led to a goal with 1:16 left – he earned his money in a screaming match with one of the officials. That led to the unsportsmanlike and misconduct penalties. Ribeiro claimed he had tried to engage officials initially in the final seconds of the first period and was rebuffed.
Follow me on Twitter @bmcnally14