Back in late September, Mike Ribeiro told CSN Washington he believed the NHL season would be up and running by December.
On Thursday, he reiterated that prediction — and said it was the big reason why he didn’t sign in Europe.
“That’s why I didn’t go overseas,” he explained to CSN’s Chuck Gormley. “I believed we would have a lockout that would not last more than a month and a half and we would start a season at the start of December.
“These are smart businessmen and both parties are smart enough to not miss a full year. It looks like both sides have taken a step forward and I’m hoping we get a deal done soon.”
Ribeiro not going to Europe was noteworthy. He has experience in that department, having played for Finnish club Espoo during the 2004-05 work stoppage, where he joined current and former NHLers Ryan Malone, Bryan Muir, Krys Kolanos and Donald MacLean.
For this lockout, though, he’s sticking in North America.
Ribeiro is skating regularly in Washington with a number of Caps players, keeping fit for the a start date he hopes will come soon — he’s been keeping tabs on negotiations and prepping accordingly.
“I have no idea when they’ll settle,” he said. “But I hope and I believe that by Dec. 1 we’ll have a season going.”
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.