Author: NBC Sports

A sobering Father's Day story

I’d like to take a quick break from all of the chatter about the
draft, trades and free agency to point out the best story you’ll read
today about hockey and Father’s Day.

Zona of The Copper & Blue
always gives us incredible stories on
the NHL, prospects and some of the forgotten stories in hockey, but
today he’s completely outdone himself. While many of the stories today
focus on the great relationships between players and their fathers,
Derek takes a look at those fathers for who today will be a tough one.

writes about three fathers who must spend today without the children
they dearly loved: Kurtis Foster, Jose Theodore and Brian Burke. As
Derek so eloquently says:

Father’s Day is a celebration of all things Dad.  But for three NHL
men, Father’s Day is going to be a day of distant stares, followed by
hard swallows that snap them back to reality.  Reverent silence and
speechless but meaningful glances will take the place of smiles and cute
greeting cards for these Dads.  Each of them will be thankful for the
time that they had before their loss, and most of us should be thankful
that we don’t have to bear their burden and feel their pain.  So let us
celebrate those that have gone before us, those that are still with us,
and those who are yet to come.

Be sure to head on over and read his
excellent and humbling story.

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    Mike Ribeiro to the Wild makes sense for both teams


    Ribeiro.jpgThis isn’t a rumor. This isn’t blind speculation on a trade that is “in the works.” This is merely analysis of a potential trade that would make sense between two teams.

    Get used to this, as we gear up for the NHL Draft next weekend and
    then NHL free agency right after that. As teams jockey for space under
    the salary cap we’re likely to see more trades than normal at this time
    of the year, especially considering how dire this free agent class is
    outside of the goaltenders.

    There are a few names that keep being
    brought up, including Tomas Kaberle, Jason Spezza, Kris Versteeg and
    Nathan Horton. Another name that has been mentioned, but not as
    prominently, is Dallas center Mike Ribeiro.

    Ribeiro has been great
    for the Stars since the team acquired him in one of the most lopsided
    trades in recent history but with the team facing payroll restrictions
    and looking to move in a new direction under Marc Crawford, Ribeiro has
    become expendable.

    Ribeiro enjoyed another productive season last
    year, but it was evident that he just isn’t a good fit in the system
    that Crawford is hoping to put in place in Dallas. The Stars were caught
    between being an aggressive offensive team last season that pushes the
    pace of the game and a team that wants to slow down and keep the game in
    one half of the ice. The result was a wholly inconsistent team, and
    Ribeiro was right at the center of the Stars’ struggles.

    While the
    Stars were looking to push the pace of the game, Ribeiro prefers to
    slow the game down. Watching the team in person a number of times last
    season it was apparent just how much Ribeiro stuck out in Crawford’s
    system. This isn’t to say that Ribeiro has lost a step or is struggling
    offensively — he’s still a great talent with the puck — but he just
    doesn’t appear to fit what the Stars are hoping to build moving forward.
    And the Stars are desperate for defensive help.

    With Jamie
    Benn emerging as a game-changing center, and with Brad Richards likely
    to stay, the Stars have the chance to move Ribeiro in order to get some
    much needed defensive help and to ease up on payroll. Ribeiro has three
    seasons left on his contract at $5 million per season, and there are a
    couple of options that might give the Stars the chance to bolster the
    blue line without taking on extra salary.

    Matheson of the Edmonton Journal
    suggests that the Minnesota Wild
    are putting defenseman Brent Burns on the market while on the lookout
    for a top line center. A trade that would sway Ribeiro and Burns would
    make sense for both sides, as the Stars would gain a talented defenseman
    and free up salary while the Wild would get the top center they
    desperately need.

    The Wild are moving in a new directions
    themselves, hoping to bust out of the defensive system they were in
    under Jacques Lemaire. Ribeiro would give the Wild an instant boost on
    offense and they have the cap space to make the move.

    It’s also not a guarantee that Burns would be the one that is traded. The Wild also have Nick Shultz and Cam Barker, who would also be valuable to the Stars in improving their blue line while clearing up salary on the payroll.

    nothing that says that these teams have been talking, although it’s
    known around the league that Dallas could be actively shopping Ribeiro.
    This would be a great fit for both teams, depending on the other parts
    that could be involved in a trade. There are other options for both
    teams, since the Flyers will likely have Carter on the market as well,
    although the Wild won’t have the pieces the Flyers need.

    Stars need defensemen and the Wild need a center. It fits.

    As always, all salary numbers come from

    New Hab Lars Eller aims to make the the team out of training camp

    Eller.jpgI’m sure that most Montreal Canadien fans are still a bit bitter over
    the Habs’ decision to stick with Carey Price instead of handing
    Jaroslav Halak a big contract extension. After all, Halak was the
    goaltender that claimed the starting position and helped lead the
    Canadiens to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals.

    To help ease the sting of that trade, the Canadiens are receiving the
    Blues’ top prospect in Lars Eller, a talented Danish forward who made a
    great impression during his first season in North America. The 13th
    overall pick for the Blues in 2007, he had 18 goals and 57 points in 70
    games for the Peoria Rivermen last season at 21 years old, and seems
    poised to be ready to make the full time jump to the NHL next season
    after appearing in seven games last year for the Blues.

    It’s likely he’ll start off in the AHL, unless he forces his way onto
    the roster in training camp, but it won’t be long before he’s making
    his debut before the Montreal crowd. Judging by Pierre Gauthier’s
    comments yesterday, that appears to be the early plan.

    Of course, Eller is approaching the offseason with the intent of
    starting the season with the Canadiens. From
    Jeremy Rutherford:

    “That was my goal in St. Louis, to make that club this
    year. I’m going to have the same mindset coming into Montreal. I know
    that Montreal has a big fan base and there are big expectations for the
    team and the players as well. But I put pressure on myself. I see this
    in a positive way.”

    The Habs will certainly give
    Eller the chance to make the team, especially after trading away Halak
    to acquire him, and the big and talented center should be a big part of
    the future of this team. There’s a reason he was so highly regarded
    three years ago before even playing above the junior level in the SEL.

    understand that Habs fans are angry over this trade, but getting Eller
    coming the other way should be more than just a consolation prize.