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Washington Capitals Mike Ribeiro

May 14, 2013 09:34PM ● By Anonymous

Washington became so impressed with his superb play that the team paired him for much of the season with the franchise player in Ovechkin, who had played the previous four years with Backstrom. The 6-foot, 178-pound Ribeiro, who is married with three children, has played 13 seasons in the NHL, including seven with Dallas and five with the Montreal Canadiens. We recently sat down with Ribeiro, who was wearing a diamond stud earring and a gold chain around his neck, after a Capitals’ practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.

Did you welcome the trade to Washington?

I was excited to come here. I had a chance to be on one of the top teams in the NHL. It was time for me to change teams. We hadn’t made the playoffs in Dallas for four years in a row. I think they were ready to move on and I was ready to move on.

Has it been exciting playing with Ovechkin? Did you expect to be on the same line with him?

I didn’t expect to play with him. A lot of times during the year, you mix up the lines. I have had to learn what he likes and doesn’t like, but it helps my game by just being on the ice with him. He plays with emotion and that’s the best part of his game. Once he does that, you usually elevate your game. Teams pay a lot of attention to him on the ice, so it gives me a little more space to do what I have to do. And a guy that can shoot like him, it’s just easier for me to focus on getting him the puck.

Your contract is up this summer. Would you be interested in signing a long-term deal with the Capitals?

I would. I have enjoyed my time in Washington. When you have family and kids, it’s always harder to move a lot. If I can stay in one spot as long as I can, that’s what I prefer.

You have Portuguese descendants. How did your family end up in Canada?

Both of my parents are Portuguese. My mom’s family came to Canada to visit and decided to start a new life there just to give the kids a better chance to make it. It was just a better living for them to come to Canada instead of staying in Portugal. My dad was a soccer player in Portugal, so he wanted me to play soccer. But obviously being in Canada, the Montreal Canadiens were pretty big. It was during 1975, 1976 (Stanley Cup years). He got interested in those teams and decided to have me start skating.

What is the difference between a hockey player in his 20s and 30s?

I don’t want to repeat my mistakes. I am old enough now to better understand what I have done. I really want to focus on my kids and my wife. I had a kid when I was really young and when you are in your 20s, a lot of times, you don’t know how to deal with that. Now, I have a teenager. I want to be a good example to my kids. It’s all about life’s experiences and I have matured.

Is style and fashion important to you?

I grew up in Montreal and I would say Montreal is a fashion city. People like to dress up. I grew up with two older sisters. Obviously, dressing up was a big thing for them. I just like to dress up. People have different interests and that’s one of mine.

What do you do for fun in the offseason?

I usually go work out, come back home, and spend time with my kids. We swim, jet ski, or go four-wheeling. I don’t play much golf. I would rather spend the time with my kids than spend time on the golf course.

What do you do to relax after a game?

I usually just go home and watch a tape of the game we just played. That makes me relax sometimes, but sometimes that drives me crazy. I chill with the fi replace going and watch the game.