Tag: Mike Ribeiro

Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne

Three reasons why Nashville’s in a tailspin


On Feb. 17, Nashville whipped San Jose 5-1 to move to 39-12-6, the best record in the league. With 84 points, the Preds had a comfortable lead atop the NHL and Central Division standings.

How times have changed.

Since that win, Nashville has gone 4-9-2 and lost its hold on both. Last night’s 3-2 OT loss to Minnesota gave a startling example of how much the Preds have struggled; on Jan. 13, Minnesota trailed Nashville by 21 (yes, twenty-one) points in the standings.

With last night’s win, the Wild had trimmed it to nine.

“It’s frustrating for everybody,” head coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean. “At the end of the night, you’ve got to win games.”

“We’re not playing the right way to close out games right now,” added veteran forward Matt Cullen. “And we’ve got 10 games to figure it out.”

So, what’s wrong with the Preds? Three things to consider…

1. Neal, Ribeiro and Forsberg have gone cold.

Ice cold, in fact. After combining to form one of the NHL’s top lines through the first few months, James Neal, Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg have been split up, put back together, split up again… and now Neal’s out, having missed the last three games with an upper-body ailment.

Even before the Neal injury, though, there were signs of trouble. Neal had just one goal in his last 11 games, Forsberg only has five points in his last 16 and Ribeiro has just three points in his last 11. Yes, the Preds are one of the league’s most well-balanced scoring teams — eight guys have 13 goals or more — but it’s clear that a good portion of the team’s success relies on the production of the “Big Three.”

2. They’re no longer dominating at home.

For most of this season, Bridgestone Arena has been an extremely difficult place for opponents. En route to racing out to the aforementioned 39-12-6 start, the Preds went a remarkable 25-3-1 at home — securing 51 of a possible 58 points — and their three regulation losses came against very good opponents in Anaheim, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Lately, though, things have turned.

Tuesday’s loss to the Wild was Nashville’s fifth straight at home, its longest skid of the season. Over that stretch, the Preds have allowed 18 goals — 3.6 per game, well above their season average of 2.8 — and defenseman Roman Josi suggested part of the problem is Nashville’s failure to play a full 60 minute game.

“The last periods just have to be better,” Josi said, per the team website. “We have to go after the goal and not take a step back. We have to find a way to win these games. It is all about winning in this league.

“You don’t get points just for playing well. We have to bear down and get two points.”

3. They’ve become the hunted.

A 75/1 longshot to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the season, the Preds were, for quite some time, the NHL’s biggest surprise story… but surprises wear off. Around the same time they raced to the top of the NHL standings, the Preds began to be a target for other teams, like Central Division rival Chicago.

Back in mid-February, ‘Hawks d-man Brent Seabrook made mention of the fact his team was targeting Nashville, and how “difficult” it was to make up ground.

“They seem to be winning every game,” Seabrook explained.

“It’s going to be tough,” Kris Versteeg added, when asked about catching the Preds. “They’re rolling.”

Both the ‘Hawks and the Blues have managed to erase Nashville’s once-commanding lead in the Central. Heading into Wednesday night’s action, St. Louis, who trailed by nine points on Feb. 26, is now one point up with two games in hand; Chicago, meanwhile, trails by just four with three in hand.

Preds’ Neal day-to-day after missing Saturday’s game

Detroit Red Wings v Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have been cold lately, but they picked up a big win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. James Neal wasn’t on the ice for Nashville though as he’s dealing with an upper-body injury that’s believed to be the result of cumulative strain rather than a recent event, per The Tennessean.

Neal, who also missed Saturday’s morning skate, is regarded as day-to-day. The one-time 40-goal scorer has 22 markers and 35 points in 63 games in 2014-15.

With Neal sidelined, Calle Jarnkrok came out of the press box after being scratched in two straight contests. Mike Santorelli assumed Neal’s place on a line with Colin Wilson and Mike Ribeiro.

Nashville acquired Neal from Pittsburgh in June in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. While Neal hasn’t been as prolific offensively as he was in Pittsburgh, the Predators have excelled this season with a 43-20-7 record. They’re tied with Anaheim for first place in the Western Conference ahead of Sunday’s game against the Ducks.

Reports: New Coyotes ownership suffered losses of $16 million in first fiscal year (Updated)

PNI coyotes main 0102

The new Arizona Coyotes ownership group on Friday gave an update on the team’s financial status.

From FOX Sports Arizona:

The Coyotes ownership group reported its Fiscal Year 1 losses to the City of Glendale on Friday, and the number was alarming to everyone but the team.

Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said the team lost $16.458 million, but for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), it also had to include its one-time acquisition and closing costs ($7.878 million), along with the complete amount of the Mike Ribeiro buyout ($10.495 million), bringing the total operating loss to $34.831 million.

The latter is the figure that counts toward the team’s oft-mentioned “out clause,” which can be exercised within a 180-day window after five years and allows the team to leave Arizona if it reaches or exceeds $50 million in losses. The $50 million threshold is just a gating factor, not an automatic trigger for the out clause. There are many other determining factors.

It was initially reported the loss for the first fiscal year was about $16.6 million.

The Coyotes organization has been in a lengthy state of flux, with the NHL approving the sale of the majority stake in the franchise to Andrew Barroway at the end of December.

There have been rumors of Barroway possibly flipping the franchise to someone who would look to relocate it, and Barroway shooting down those rumors.

On the ice, the Coyotes are in the midst of a rebuild, after veterans Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle were traded prior to the deadline earlier this month. And, as GM Don Maloney mentioned in January, this might mean some “suffering” in the shorter term.

The message from Friday’s update seems to be that the ownership group expects profitability, although it remains to be seen exactly when that could happen.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes do have an out-clause if they lose $50 million over the first five seasons.

Lawyer: Ribeiro to ‘vigorously fight’ $1M lawsuit alleging abuse of ex-nanny (Updated)

Mike Ribeiro

The lawyer representing Nashville center Mike Ribeiro — who’s currently being sued by a former nanny — said his client will “vigorously fight” the lawsuit, which is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

“In consideration of the people involved, especially the Ribeiro family, the National Hockey League and the Nashville Predators, I don’t plan to discuss the facts surrounding these allegations in public,” Brian Lauten said in a statement, per the Tennessean. “I can say that the Ribeiro’s plan to vigorously fight this lawsuit.

“At the same time, Mike will maintain his focus on doing all he can to help Nashville win its first-ever Stanley Cup.”

The lawsuit, first brought to light on Wednesday by TMZ Sports, includes claims of assault by Ribeiro on the plaintiff, resulting in unspecified injuries. The plaintiff reportedly worked as a nanny for Ribeiro and his family while he played for Dallas in 2012 (Ribeiro’s wife was accused of verbal attacks in the lawsuit, per TMZ.)

More, from the AP:

In the lawsuit obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, the plaintiff alleges Ribeiro caused “bodily injury” and asks for more than $1 million in damages along with other relief.

The lawsuit was filed the lawsuit July 24 in Collin County District Court in Texas.

UPDATE: Additional information from AP

The lawsuit contains no specific details except alleging Ribeiro caused “body injury” when he acted “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly.” Her attorney Larry Friedman told The Associated Press on Thursday that his client was sexually assaulted by Ribeiro soon after she had graduated from high school, though she did not immediately go to authorities because she was “terrified.”

“My client was and is a young girl, and no young girl should be subjected to that kind of behaviour, the kind of conduct by an adult that she’s complaining about,” Friedman said.

Ribeiro addressed the situation on Thursday, but wouldn’t comment on the situation, forwarding all inquiries to Lauten.

“It’s not new news for me,” Ribeiro said. “For a lot of people it is, but it’s been for a while now. So it’s not a concern for me to try to get focused. I didn’t have a bad game the last game because of it.

“I’m really trying to get focused for tonight and helping the team get out of this slump. It’s a big game for us and that’s where my focus is.”

The Predators issued the following statement, per the Tennessean:

“We have been made aware of a complaint against Mike Ribeiro, dating back to his playing time while he was in Dallas.

“Mike has indicated that the charge is without merit and is prepared to vigorously defend himself. We will allow the legal process to move forward without further comment.”

Ribeiro is in his first year with Nashville, having signed last summer after Arizona bought him out of his contract due to “behavioral issues.” In a recent Sports Illustrated piece, the 35-year-old admitted to using drugs and alcohol during his time with the Coyotes.

Nashville wins, but Neuvirth is making Buffalo pesky

Michal Neuvirth

The Buffalo Sabres haven’t been that much better as a team lately – at least as far as any reasonable stat goes – but Michal Neuvirth is on such a hot run that it’s not as safe to write them off as an easy win.

Yes, the Nashville Predators won 2-1 via a shootout on Sunday, but they had to sweat this one thanks almost entirely to Neuvirth’s efforts. They trailed for most of the third period until Mike Ribeiro was the only Predator who could thwart Neuvirth in regulation (and on the power play, to boot).

Overall, Neuvirth stopped 37 out of 38 shots. While he’s still not really winning, just look at what the 26-year-old goalie’s done in February:

1-3-2 record, .944 save percentage, 1.93 GAA.

One almost wonders if Neuvirth might just play himself out of Buffalo, as his strong work may just be a threat to what many believe is a tank job.

In other words, there’s at least some room for concern that the Sabres’ bid for a guaranteed top-two pick could even hit a wall: