The guy is a little sensitive when it comes to getting high sticked in the face and it happened twice against Olli Jokinen Tuesday night – without a penalty.
First, some important history.
In January of 2010, while playing for the Dallas Stars, Ribeiro was struck so hard in the throat on a high stick by New York Rangers forward Chris Higgins that he suffered a cracked trachea, underwent a tracheotomy in a New York hospital, and missed four weeks.
Fast forward to the first period of Tuesday night’s game when, with 5 minutes remaining, Jokinen clipped Ribeiro in the right cheek as the two prepared for a faceoff. After wiping blood from his face Ribeiro asked linesman Greg Devorski why a penalty wasn’t called by the referee.
"I thought I got high-sticked close to my throat again,” Ribeiro said. “I turned around and [Devorski] is staring at me. So I'm like, 'Are you not seeing it, or you don't wanna call it?' And then he just didn't answer me. I don't know. You’re not allowed to talk to them.”
“I was like, 'OK, are you just allowed to high-stick people before the puck's dropped?' So I went to ask him, he didn't answer me and that just got me frustrated a bit to not have an answer. Just tell me. I don't know, I guess he didn't know what to do.”
Ribeiro, who still has a scar from the tracheotomy, needed five stitches to close the cut on his right cheek and when Jokinen clipped him again before a faceoff at 8:49 of the third period, Ribeiro went off and was slapped with an unsportsmanlike penalty and a 10-minute misconduct
"The second time I got high-sticked close to my throat again I looked around and [referee Dennis LaRue] is staring at me,” Ribeiro said. “I'm like, 'Why are you not calling this one?'
“Well I guess he wasn't happy about that. I guess I said stuff that my kids won't like too much. I just feel like you're not allowed to talk to them anymore about situations that happen in a game. They believe they're above us or have more power. I don't know.”
After the game, Capitals coach Adam Oates defended his 32-year-old veteran.
“He got high-sticked before [Troy Brouwer’s] goal and he got high sticked early in the game and I think he was just very frustrated with that,” Oates said. “Maybe the referee was a little quick with the whistle.