montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

Mike Ribeiro traded for Janne Niinimaa

  • What was expected for a long time but never seemed to materialize finally happend Saturday evening.

    Bob Gainey traded underachieving Canadiens Centre Mike Ribeiro to the Dallas Stars for Janne Niinimaa.

    Ribeiro had been the subject of trade speculation for a long time after his poor performance and even worse attitude and work ethic. It was no secret that Gainey and management were displeased with him but after surviving the trade deadline last year and over the summer most thought they were giving him one more chance. The timing was a bit of a surprise but the fact Mike Ribeiro is out of Montreal is not.

    Doing it now means that the Canadiens are dead serious about this year. Addressing their weaknesses quickly and correctly (hopefully) means they are taking a run for it it this year.

    There was a hole on defense and they addressed it with a veteran blueliner while getting rid of a room dividing team cancer.

    Mike Ribeiro went from popular local player with tons of potential to virutally hated by almost all fans. He won’t be missed by many and that is a pretty sad legacy for him to leave.

    Is Niinimaa the answer? That remains to be seen but adding a big mobile defenseman with over 500 NHL games experience to the Canadiens blueline surely won’t hurt. As a 4th 5th or 6th defenseman he should fit in well.

    Another way to think of it is that Tomas Plekanec forced this to happen. The Canadiens love Plekanec who had a strong campaign last year and a strong camp this year. They obviously believe he is the one to be a top center for the Canadiens now and for the future.

    Getting rid of Ribeiro is a promotion for Plekanec who will now get plenty of ice time on a line with Samsonov and Kovalev. How is that for speed and skill?

    The Canadiens will ice a drastically different team from one year ago. The NHL season begins Wednesday, the Habs first is Friday and they haven’t looked this good in ages.


  1. #1 Alestar says:
    October 2, 2006 at 9:26 am

    Good, solid trade. Way to go Bob. Ribeiro was never going to live up his potential as a Hab, and was a distraction for the team in general. Niinimaa is a solid D-man, something we need anyway (and there are no shortage of forwards in the system…).

    Looking forward to this Friday night…

    Go Habs!


  2. #2 HabsFanStuckInOttawa says:
    October 2, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    I don’t know about solid…his best days are definately behind him. That being said, getting rid of Ribs will help the defence and Niinimaa won’t hurt the situation.

  3. #3 legend says:
    October 2, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    with ribero gone ..who is left to make fun of on the habs ..gainey you are ruining my life !! hehehe ..i guess it will be latendresse then …or maybe even patch the pirate koivu ..time will tell!!! hehehe

  4. #4 chernevog says:
    October 2, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    That was a surprise….. I would have liked a d-man who is not recognized to be in a “sharp decline” but maybe Montreal wil bring the best out in him. Go Habs!!

  5. #5 riser8 says:
    October 2, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    I like the trade….anytime you can pick up a skilled mobile dman for what the Habs gave up you should be happy. People have to remember that Niinimaa played through a severe ankle injury most of last season(I believe it was torn ankle
    ligaments) thus causing him not be as effective as he usually is. I heard a Dallas beat writer on the radio today saying that he believes Niinimaa will thrive in Montreal if he is put in the right situation and stays healthy….meaning he should be in your top 4-5 defenceman and also give him plenty of pp time as well. He definitely upgrades our defense as well as being
    a good insurance policy in case of and injury to Markov. Let the season begin and I agree with Habs Blog that this is probably the most talented team in Montreal in quite a while. Good luck Habs…only time will tell how they perform this season.

  6. With the exception of this blog site I’m hearing quite mixed reviews about the trade! (Not about getting rid of ribeiro mind you!) but about niinima some say he’s a great solid go to “D” others say he’s a carbon copy of Breezeby “brisebois” On another site a habs fan from Edmonton actually said (after following mostly oilers games for the past few years) That he’s the guy you come to expect to give the puck up at the worst times (VERY OFTEN) now to be honest I really don’t know much about him.Is there any trith to this despite his injury last year? I’ll agree with one thing DEFINATELY the most talented habs organization (INCLUDING GAINEY) since the late 70’s including 1986 & 1993 if you disagree imagine 1986-1995 without Patrick Roy!!! GO HABS GO!

  7. #7 Oct.21 - - - - The Return Of THEO!! says:
    October 2, 2006 at 6:55 pm


  8. #8 Kinger says:
    October 2, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    I believe this trade will benefit montreal for the time being, however I think once Ribiero finally matures and changes his attitude a bit he will be an elite player in the league, he’s got some serious talent and has put up huge numbers in junior. Right now though Niinimaa will provide the habs with a much needed solid and experience d-man who can be used on the pp. The one thing I disagree with is letting Jan Bulis slip away, he is going to be a great player this year, and always worked hard out there. Habs should have kept him….the season all depends on 2 players, koivu and huet.

    go habs

  9. #9 Jack Tornton says:
    October 2, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Guys I’m not sure exactly if I mean it but I strongly feel that Ribeiro is going to be supersatr very soon.It’s not a fact but a feeling

    I just don’t know why….

  10. Any one know Niinimaa contract ? how much he earns and is it a 1 year contract like Ribeiro ?

    He should certainly help, we need another defenseman. But when Bouillon get back, and will there be any place for a guy like Côté somewhere ?

    My concern is money, with Niinima and Latendresse, there is not a lot of money left (if any). So if you want to exchange eventually a goalie, do you have enough space for a big player like we need ?

    Reality is, this could be the best season since, I can’t remember, but it could be a terrible one. There is soo much anticipiation and unknow variables that IMO there will be time where it will be hard to earn 1 or 2 points.

  11. #11 Paddy says:
    October 3, 2006 at 12:00 am

    One down, two to go. Hopefully Sheldoune and Dear Abby are next to leave.

  12. I don’t know about any of you but i’m actually looking forward to a few years from now when the leafs are in town, and the dewl is Price vs Pogge! ~GO HABS

  13. #13 Gumper says:
    October 3, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Niinimaa’s ankle has me as equally worried as his (rated) intensity. Maybe with Koivu nearby, a good work ethic can be sustained by him. But really, looking at his recent injury woes,.. it’s ankle/ankle/ankle. I see him getting no more than 40 games in this year (or be shipped out sooner).
    With Ribeiro, it was all about attitude. Besides the “my poop don’t stink” bit, he was just a legend in his own mind. He didn’t want to absorb or grow as a player and he believed a little too much in pre and post-press the local rags whipped up. They are gonna eat him alive in Dallas… then he’ll be traded to 2 more teams then his career will fade to black… poof! The bell tolls for thee…

  14. #14 smiler2729 says:
    October 3, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    Good riddance. Ever since his embarrassing soccer player act against the Bruins in the playoffs 2 years ago, I’ve wanted this weasel out of a Habs uniform. Thank you Mr. Gainey. In Bob We Trust.

  15. J-Nic, his contract is 1 year and its around the $2.5M range if i’m not mistaken.

    as for Janne’s ankle injuries. have they been over the last year or multiple years? because if it was just over the last year and it was only a torn ligament like i read then he should be alright after the summer break. this is from personal experience: i tore two ligaments simoulaneously once, stayed off it for a little while (little more than a week i think), took it easy, and then i was skiing in the swiss alps not even a month later. granted i was like 16 or 17 when it hapened, so things heal quicker, but the point is that ligaments generally do heal.

  16. #16 mab82 says:
    October 3, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    i like the trade but also feel we could have done without it, at this point, or even waited for a better trade offer involving someone of higher stature,you know maybe ribiero could of had a great year and then we could have traded the bum while the stocks in ribiero where high
    not that i dont like the trade i just think we could have got some one else reliable and better(think for example of another team player defenseman who plays and breathes for the team)
    i still think niinnnima is good but how good for the team we’ll have to wait and see
    on most parts its good news for everybody especially to see that the management actually gives a s*it about our team , and is actually trying to redefine our team not like 3 years ago
    the only thing i don’t like on the roster is Rivet he loves his team but he isn’t that good, sourray is still better than him and that says alot

    anyways good trade or bad trade we’ll just have to wait and see

  17. #17 kazmojo says:
    October 3, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    I wonder if Gainey kept Latendresse in part to satify the local media, knowing that Ribeiro would soon be dealt? I’m sure Latendresse is a better player than Ribeiro, but that’s a nice little “political” bonus for Gainey and company.

  18. #18 snake says:
    October 3, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    At last the three Amigos are history. Theodore, RIbeiro and Dagenais. Apparently they all enjoyed clothes shopping together. I dont know about you guys but I have never shopped for clothes with another dude. Maybe for a hat.

  19. lol snake

  20. #20 Paulie says:
    October 3, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    I feel sorry for you guys…Niinimaa is awful! We had him on the Island and he kept making bonehead plays constantly. And to think we gave up Raffi Torres (and Isbister) for him. I didn’t mind losing Isbister but Torres is a great player. Another one to add to Mad Mike’s legacy. By the way, the Isles will be winning their 5th cup this year…yessah!

  21. #21 Gumper says:
    October 4, 2006 at 8:59 am

    Paulie —- “Torres is a great player”

    You’re right about that but Niinimaa’s stock was high at that time. I mean, he was pretty solid in Edmonton. It’s a classic case where one good player (at the time) is traded for potential, then tanks. Torres catches fire and makes Milbury look bad. But then (you may agree), Mike is fully capable of doing this on his own. But then there’s Wang,.. i’ll stop here by saying this: Cap’n Highliners Kids are too far down the cup queue they’ll have to wait for the next “Perfect Storm” to blow the mug back into town :-)

  22. #22 Jack Tornton says:
    October 4, 2006 at 9:25 am

    The toronto stars classified us as 1st in our division!

  23. #23 Jack Tornton says:
    October 4, 2006 at 9:27 am

    lol! They said that toronto might not even make the playoffs! For all the leafs fans that come here and make fun of us go fix your team!

  24. #24 **Higgin's Chick** says:
    October 4, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Who ever thought they would, they’re not even gonna be close….

  25. #25 SLAP SHOT says:
    October 4, 2006 at 5:19 pm


  26. #26 Habs#1 says:
    October 4, 2006 at 5:38 pm


    When Janne Niinamma played in Edmonton he was really good and fit really well as a #3 guy. He really didn’t want to be dealt from Edmonton and he was really unhappy in NY and Dallas.

    Plain and simple, he had no pressure on him with the Isles and the Stars but he did in Edmonton. This guy is better when he’s under pressure than when the public isn’t pushing him and he’s also, I believe, on of the few players who enjoys playing and living in Canada more than the U.S.

    And with Bouillon now out till December(as reported by THE SCORE), you’d better get used to the guy wether you like him or not.

  27. The The toronto stars classified us as 1st in our division.Jeez I feel good about that!!!hell A

  28. The Toronto Star classified us as 1st in our division.Jeez I feel good about that!!!Hell Anything they print can’t be good luck.LOOK at the laffs the last 40 years.They have done nothing but BS Ontario on what the laffs had and will do.Say no more!! Money talks bullshit walks:=)

  29. Not so long ago Niinamma was a hell of a d-man and a great late fantasy pick.
    He’s still very young and under a good system he will regain his old form.
    Just look at our coaches boys, if anyone can get Souray back on track Niinamma will be no problem.
    He’s easily a top 4 “D” on any team.
    This is the kind of depth we will need for a long run.
    Let’s go Janne we’re all behind you.

  30. #30 Habs#1 says:
    October 5, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    So much for all those ‘experts’ who picked the Leafs to be better and make the playoffs. They looked like the same old slow team out there that they were last season. Hal Gill got burned so bad he had scorch marks on his jersey and Raycroft like I said isn’t the answer for them.

    So for the last time till mid-way through the season I say HA HA HA! Told ya so.

  31. #31 Habs heartland 1 says:
    October 5, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Habs #1-Look at the score- leafs 6, Ottawa 0! Ha Ha! whose laughing now?You should look at more games before you open your mouth!

  32. #32 Tricolor true says:
    October 5, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    I think we have to wait and see about 20 games into the season, before determining how good this trade is. I’m still not convinced we will survive without depth at center ice. I still think we will have to make a trade or pick up a center iceman. Just too thin at that position.

  33. I’ll open my mouth.The laffs have a lot to prove over a long season…TWO games doesn’t make a season.Raycroft is ok goal tender and goes from hot to cold very fast as he has shown in the past.Should never have won rookie of the year…politics.It won’t take teams very long to exploit weaknesses in the laffs.

  34. thorton…what a call on your part.

    ribeiro’s ended up being pretty much a superstar, teh guy’s the best passer in the western conf outside of joe thorton

    can’t believe you called it

Leave a Comment