Monday, January 28, 2008

Why 79 trumps 71

(No, don't worry, it's not another Brisebois article. This one's about the littlest All-Star - Mike Ribeiro. Have to admit though, it is funny that Brisebois chose that number...)

How can 71 and 79 look so similar, but yet when they hit the ice and especially when they open their mouths, look so far. The space between 71 and 79 (is more than one Garon) and must be on that part of the curve where there is pretty much no horizontal component, because if the y-axis reads NHL star quality, the difference between the two is counted in tens, not single units.

Not even changing to the awkward looking 63 can hide this reality.

An article that was at one point on RDS, but now is found on La Presse makes my job very easy, as it illustrates the difference between the two post-lockout Habs at the All-Star contest this past weekend.

Check out the quotes:

«J'aimerais être accompagné d'un coéquipier, ce serait plus facile de m'y retrouver» - Ribeiro

I guess there's no love from Andrei then. Can't imagine why he would disown his old teammate.

«La possibilité de participer à un match des étoiles me trottait dans la tête depuis longtemps. Cette saison, j'estimais que mes chances étaient excellentes et j'ai été déçu de ne pas avoir été choisi initialement.» - Ribeiro

Why doesn't this quote surprise me? Career goal fulfilled? No wait there's that trophy to win, the one in all his dreams - Art Ross.

«J'aurais peut-être obtenu plus d'argent si j'avais testé le marché des joueurs autonomes à la fin de la saison.» - Ribeiro

Some would argue teams might actually look at past form (or at the possibility of signing someone reliable), but who am I to burst a bubble here?

«Les journalistes russes me tapent sur les nerfs.» - Markov

I'm surprised they got that much out of Markov. What no hyperbole about how he's always planned on being an all-star, how he could get paid more than double what Mike Ribeiro now makes, how he wishes the superstars were friendly to him?

What you've got there is the best contrast and the biggest gulf in class (in my opinion) between two 5 million plus players in this league.
Andrei Markov, the serious professional was said to enjoy the all-star experience, but would have been equally as happy somewhere else while he rested for the real challenge ahead.

Mike Ribeiro, unable to get enough photos for himself to prove to people that he actually got to this game.

Markov the number one vote getter in the East barring Sidney Crosby. Ribeiro the second choice on a team that had to provide their single all-star.

Markov the cornerstone of the Canadiens franchise with management's faith and commitment as the highest paid Hab ever. Ribeiro, the guy who fetched us Janne Niinimaa.

Frankly, I don't know where all this resentment to Ribeiro comes from. I was pleased he got shipped out of town, and he should be thanked for that, not derided. If nothing else, it has given us a chance to watch an equally as talented offensive centre play with Kovalev. And one who plays defense at that.

Ribeiro could win the scoring title, and I know it would be like watching Sheldon Souray set the record for PPG by a defenseman - providing me with not much beyond a feeling that there must be something more to being good at hockey. Markov, consequently, rarely, if ever, leaves me feeling that way.

I suppose a lot of my feelings on Mike closely mirror those of HF10 at Four Habs Fans (though I'm not sure I could find as much vitriol as he does).

Mike may be an all-star, but he's not an all-star the way Andrei Markov is. Not even the way Alex Kovalev should have been. Not even within an order of magnitude.

While Mike may mistake what he hears people saying to him in Montreal for "Markov", I think that's as close as he'll come to the skill and pedigree of our top defenseman.

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