Mike Ribeiro's March diary
I got to play with Kovy for a while and that helped me a lot. The chance to play with him was definitely a boost in confidence. I had a rough start to the season and was playing with a lot of different people and then when Bob took over as coach, I was on the fourth line for a while. When you’re put together with Kovalev, it gives you confidence. It’s easy to play with him. Your odds are better with him to score. He’s a superstar, and I’m still a young guy. Kovy’s a guy who likes to talk and help you out. One thing I learnt from him is to try and create a chance to score every time I step on the ice. Don’t lose time on the ice.
I enjoy playing a more physical game than I’ve been used to in the past. I like the physical part of the game because it makes you more focused and more aware of getting hit. I won’t hit everyone, for example if a guy knows I’m coming, it’s almost a waste of time. If I see that a guy’s not paying attention and doesn’t see me coming, then I’ll try and go for it.
There are a few cities that I really like to go to on a road trip. New York is definitely a fun city to play in. Going down to Florida to play the Panthers Lightning are nice, for obvious reasons and I also like going to Toronto.
On the subject of road trips, when you’re on the road, most guys have the same roommate during the season. I’ve had a few different roommates this year. At first I was sharing a room with Pierre [Dagenais], then he got sent down. I was with Raitis [Ivanans] for a few days, [Jonathan] Ferland for a few days and now, I’ve been rooming with [Mike] Komisarek.
A lot of the guys like to joke around. Aaron [Downey] is really something, definitely rare. There’s a bunch of funny guys. Rivs [Craig Rivet] is pretty funny too but Aaron is just something else. You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth.
When you’re a Montrealer, dealing with trade rumors can be harder. You know more people and they talk to you a little bit more about what they’ve heard and they’ll ask what’s happening. So, obviously you can’t help but think about it a bit but there’s not much you can do, you don’t have much control. The only way I could control any of it was to prove that I want to play here, to have a better work ethic and making it so that there’s no choice but to keep me here. That was my goal. I had a hard time understanding the rumours because I’m still young, I’m only 26. Hearing my name pop up was weird because if I was 30 or so, maybe then I’d understand it a little better because I’d be further in my career.
I’d heard the rumor that had me going to Washington to play with Ovechkin. Obviously to be wanted to play with a guy like him definitely isn’t a bad thing but I didn’t want to leave here so it wasn’t that "cool" to hear about. I’ve been a fan of Montreal since I was a kid and I wanted to play here. I’ve never been one to read the papers. If there’s anything to know, someone will let me know or if there’s a nice picture, my mom will tell me.
Now that we’re near the end of the season, it’s hard to say what teams have surprised me. It depends when you’re playing and how you’re playing because anyone can beat anyone else. Pittsburgh’s season has surprised me. I thought they’d be better. At the same time, they’re a young team and have talent that will develop over the next few years.
My wife recently gave birth to a baby girl, Victoria so having a lot of home games until the end of the season is definitely good. I’m lucky to only have a few more road games left. I have two boys so I’m excited to have a little girl. That’s actually that one of the things that surprises people who don’t really know me, that at 26, I have three kids. Some people are also surprised when they find out I play hockey. I’m not sure why but I’m guessing because obviously I’m not a big guy and I’ve still got my teeth, and people tend to picture hockey players as big, tall guys with missing teeth.
Thanks for reading - I’ll catch you guys next time.
Mike Ribeiro is a forward for the Montreal Canadiens. Diary transcribed by Heather Engel, Site Assistant for canadiens.com.