James O'Brien

Mike Ribeiro

Mike Ribeiro settles sexual assault civil lawsuit

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Mike Ribeiro and his wife settled their sexual assault civil lawsuit with their former nanny for an undisclosed amount on Wednesday, as the Nashville Post’s J.R. Lind reports.

The terms of the settlement (which was made out-of-court) were undisclosed, but Ribeiro’s attorney Brian Lauten released the following statement to the Nashville Post:

“This civil matter has been amicably resolved without incurring further time-consuming and potentially costly litigation,” Lauten said. “I am unable to discuss any of the elements of this confidential resolution. Mike looks forward to continuing to play hockey at a high level and looks forward to aggressively pursuing a Stanley Cup alongside his teammates. The Ribeiro family will not have any further comments on this matter.”

The Predators also are aware of the settlement, as the Nashville Post notes:

“The organization understands Mike Ribeiro has resolved his civil case. We are pleased that Mike and his family can focus on their future and we will have no further comment.”

The Predators organization decided to re-sign Ribeiro, 35, to a two-year, $7 million contract even as this lawsuit remained in civil court. When negotiations were taking place, GM David Poile described Ribeiro as “a good teammate and a productive player” along with someone who, alongside his wife, has been “excellent in the community.”

Re-signing Ribeiro rubs some fans (both of the Predators and hockey as a whole) the wrong way. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski provided this advice to those who were angered by Nashville’s decision to bring Ribeiro back in June:

This story has gotten national attention, and there’s been national media pressure on Poile. That’s fine. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter unless Predators fans decide it matters.

All politics are local. If you’re a woman that loves the Preds but this re-signing turns your stomach, don’t be silent. If you’re a guy that loves the Preds but can’t support someone like Ribeiro, let your voice be heard. Because right now, the Predators clearly believe that the past doesn’t factor in the present, that Ribeiro is just another rehabbed player and that you think a No. 1 center trumps a player facing this type of civil case.

However you might feel about the situation, the bottom line is that the case is now settled – legally speaking – and Ribeiro is under contract with the Predators for the next two seasons.

Are we there yet? Pondering Edmonton’s defense

Barclay Goodrow, Justin Schultz
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If nothing else, the Edmonton Oilers seem willing to pay to improve their defense. Did they do enough to finally see some actual results, though?

In a way, Justin Schultz symbolizes the team as a whole: expensive, hyped-up and disappointing.

His possession stats have been disastrous at times. At a glance, his offensive numbers look reasonable enough, yet he’s really been given every opportunity to produce even more. The 25-year-old’s even been a healthy scratch on a defense that’s been downright terrible at times.

The Oilers haven’t done themselves any favors by pronouncing his potential to be Norris-level and boxing themselves into a corner with bloated contracts, including Wednesday’s one-year, $3.9 million deal. All in all, it’s been an ugly start to his NHL career.

Still, a lot of people believe that he still has a chance to be a difference-maker … in a good way, that is.

Long story short, the jury’s out regarding Schultz’s potential, but what about Edmonton’s defense as a whole? PHT’s Jason Brough took a quick stab at what the Oilers’ blueline might look at, while Mike Halford also threw Griffin Reinhart’s name in the hat:

There are a few things that stand out while pondering potential pairings:

  • Most obviously, that’s a pretty expensive group, especially considering the middling (at best) results. War on Ice pegs their 2015-16 defense spending at $22.92 million, and that’s assuming Darnell Nurse isn’t in the mix.
  • It’s highly mercenary. As much as the narrative revolves around the Oilers being built off of high draft picks, it’s remarkable just how many of their defensemen have come from free agency (especially if you count Schultz) and trades. There isn’t much “homegrown” talent involved.
  • Improvement is indeed feasible. Andej Sekera is a possession darling, while Mark Fayne came in with some solid credentials last summer. Nurse could very well be a gem, as his draft status would indicate. People continue to await Schultz’s growth. Maybe most importantly, Todd McLellan is arguably the most qualified coach the Oilers have employed in a long time.

Of course, it remains to be seen if “improved” means much, as there was a significant gap between the Oilers and the NHL’s defensive elite. Schultz remains a microcosm once more, as both the player and the group are absolutely at the “put up or shut up” juncture heading into 2015-16.

PHT Morning Skate: Where Leafs rank among sports’ most valuable teams

Mitchell Marner
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Toronto Maple Leafs placed 37th on Forbes’ list of the 50 (technically 51) most valuable sports franchises at $1.3 billion. The Buds are the only NHL team to make the list. (Forbes)

Learn about Mike Gillis’ new gig: as a professor. (The Hockey News)

Ten things you may or may not know about Johnny Oduya. (Dallas Morning News)

This one’s a little old, but interesting: how much room does Brandon Saad have for improvement? (The Cannon)

Debating Ron Hextall’s Hall of Fame credentials. (ESPN)

Want a grim outlook for Ryan Kesler in Anaheim? This one might take the cake.

OMG, hockey emojis! (H/T to Sportsnet)

Four Flames accept qualifying offers, including Shore

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators
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The Calgary Flames announced that four players accepted qualifying offers on Wednesday: Bill Arnold, Kenny Agostino, Drew Shore and Bryce van Brabant.

General Fanager lists the contract details as such (all one-year contracts): Arnold takes in $824,500, Agostino receives $735K, Van Brabant lands $874,125 and Shore gets $850,500, at least at the NHL level.

Shore (pictured) carries the most robust top-level resume. The 24-year-old has appeared in 78 regular season games during his NHL career, including 11 with the Flames in 2014-15, generating three points. He also played in one Flames playoff contest.

Agostino, 23, has played in eight NHL games, all with Calgary in 2013-14. Arnold and Van Brabant are also 23 and have received a cup of coffee at the NHL level.

Kesler says Ducks letdowns are ‘not going to happen again’

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven
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Anaheim Ducks management stepped up to the plate in handing Ryan Kesler a hefty six-year, $41.25 million contract extension. Now it’s up to Kesler & Co. to prove that it’s all worth it.

The 30-year-old told the team website that he believes the Ducks “have all the pieces, we just need to put them together.” Kesler also said that falling short of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final ultimately serves as a valuable learning experience for the team.

At what point do you need to put those lessons together for an even deeper playoff run, though? Kesler looked back at the Ducks’ inability to put the Chicago Blackhawks away, including a 5-2 loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final:

“We needed a killer instinct in Game 6. We didn’t have it,” Kesler said. “There are two ways we can go about it: We can sulk about it or we can learn from it. I’m gonna make sure, just like all the other leaders on this team, that we learn from this and we learn not to let it happen again. That’s our job as leaders on this team. That’s not gonna happen again, I’ll tell you that.”

One cannot help but wonder how wide open the window really is for the Ducks, actually.

Wrong side of 30

Look, the West remains brutal, particularly with the ascension of Anaheim’s old nemesis, the Dallas Stars.

Still, this may just be the Ducks’ best chance to go all the way. The Blackhawks suffered some significant losses during this summer, and many others seemed to idle or even get worse. On paper, Anaheim might just be the favorite in its conference.

Beyond that, the team’s big names aren’t getting any younger, and the days of having a glut of cap space might be fleeting.

As of this writing, Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are all 30 years old. According to many, that’s roughly the age where big scorers start to see diminishing returns.

Costly contracts coming

The Ducks will also see a squeeze in contracts, particularly if they don’t get some other extensions done early (like they did with Kesler).

They still have some haggling to do with Carl Hagelin* and Jakob Silfverberg before the 2015-16 season begins. Gearing up for 2016-17 may prove costly, too, as their three goalies (Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, Anton Khudobin) and significant young defensemen Sami Vatanen, Simon Despres and Hampus Lindholm will all need new contracts.

Even with the bright side of Khudobin being the only UFA in mind, the Ducks seem rapidly shift from being a contender with a startling salary cap cushion to another championship hopeful with little room to breathe.

***

Kesler can shrug off the pressure to win all he wants, but with that big new deal, he’ll shoulder a lot of the blame if the Ducks fall short once more.

* – Sorry, had to do it.