Montreal has drafted Centers as their top two picks in each of the last two drafts. But goaltending still remains their deepest position, with Garon and Theodore projected to be number one goalies at the NHL level. Currently the Habs have only adequate prospects on defense. A defenseman with the ability to quarterback the power play has remained ever elusive. Only two of the Habs current defensemen were drafted by the team.
POS HT WT AGE DRAFTED
Mike Ribeiro C 5-10 167 20 D-Mtl98 (2/45)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH
98-99 Stats 60 59 90 149 +55 125 19 7
#1 Strength- Vision and creativity.
#1 Weakness- Size.
Playing with Rouyn-Noranda, the QMJHL’s top offensive team, Ribeiro has been on fire this season. He is currently averaging almost 2.5 points per game and is leading the CHL in scoring. His +55 is a product of his great offensive skills, while his 7 short handed goals testify to his intelligence and ability to create offense in almost any situation. His penalty minutes have more than doubled his total from last year, which indicate he is drawing much more attention from his opponents, but is not backing down.
Ribeiro’s output of 6 points in 3 games is slightly below his season average. He had 2 points in a 6-5 win over Acadie-Bathurst, 2 goals and 2 assists in a 7-4 win over Rimouski and was shut out in a 4-0 loss to Shawinigan. (Week ending 2/21/99)
As the regular season approaches, with only weeks remaining teams have made decisions on starting goalies, four lines, and starting defenceman. Almost every team knows their top two lines: every team, that is, but the Montreal Canadiens.
The Habs have five players not attending camp. Malakhov, Koivu, Rucinsky, and Savage are without contracts. Shayne Corson refuses to play unless his salary is raised another 1.5 million dollars. So, with that in mind, many would think the Habs were in major trouble: Their season is ruined. Well, you would think that if you haven’t heard of St. Theo.
St. Theo has a red, white, and blue mask. He wears the sacred C proudly on his chest, has a large glove, a blocker, two pads, and carries a big stick. Some say St. Theo was sent from heaven, some say that he was not. Many think he will crack under the pressure of the notorius Montreal media. Others say that he will thrive with the attention. St. Theo has a number on his back. It is 60. And with that number is sewn a name: Theodore.
He wears the jersey proudly, but not only that, he protects his home as he has learned from another saint, St. Brodeur. He is solid in front of his territory, but when it is needed, he will come out to block possible entries into his private space. He sacrifices his body for a full 60 minutes on some nights, and others he sits, watches, and learns from his mentor Jocelyn Thibault. This man’s full name is Jose Theodore.
Jose Theodore looked like it last night against the Boston Bruins in a 5-3 victory — even though it was a preseason game and the Bruins were without Jason Allison, Ted Donato, Anson Carter and Ray Bourque. He let in just one goal in his two periods of play. The goal came courtesy of a mental mistake from the Habs’ 1998 first round pick. Eric Chouinard tried an open ice hit on Ferraro and missed, Ulanov then figured this would be a good chance to teach the kid a lesson. He didn’t knock Ferraro off the puck either, just left prospect Stephane Robidas in a two on one situation. From inexperience, Robidas charged Ferraro, leaving Axelsson wide open for the goal.
Theodore saw the ice well, always knew where the puck was and had confidence. Jose is already a fan favourite here in Montreal. Thibault looks like he will have to fight for his number one job, once again.
Mathieu Garon took over for Thibault in the 3rd period and looked shaky from the get go. Considering he was in the QMJHL last season, that’s a large step. He let in two goals on the night. One by Joe Thornton who jammed it in on a rebound, which made the crowd get on edge. Garon did handle the pressure well after settling down later in the period, he stopped looking behind him on every shot that he was unsure of.
You have to give credit to both goalies — they made the defense look good. Three veterans paired with three rookies.