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Ribeiro says NHL owners need a better plan


Ribeiro says NHL owners need a better plan

If the NHLs owners and players cannot come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by Sept. 15, Capitals center Mike Ribeiro says it will be because of the leagues inability to come up with a revenue sharing plan that works.

Speaking to a small group of reporters following an informal workout at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday, Ribeiro said players will not agree to the estimated 20 percent rollbacks reportedly proposed by the league in its last contract offer.

Its hard to understand why they want another 20 percent back and keep the same contracts, Ribeiro said. Its hard to understand why, but I think this time we wont make the same mistake we did a few years ago by giving them 24 percent. Why would you give your boss back money he gave you?

After losing an entire season in the 2004-05 lockout, NHL players agreed to a salary cap and a one-year, 24 percent rollback of their salaries.

In the NHLs most recent proposal, players are being asked to have their share of the leagues revenue, estimated at 3.3 billion in 2011-12, from 57 percent to 46 percent.

NHL players have suggested that will result in a 19.3 percent rollback in the first year of the CBA, a figure NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly disputed Wednesday in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

What I will tell you is that our proposal last Tuesday would have reduced the players share by 11 percent in Year One, 8.5 percent in Year 2 and 5.5 percent in Year 3, Daly said. In Years 4-6, it would have been at or above as we continue to grow revenues to prior levels. So I dont know where theyre getting 20 percent.

Ribeiro said the leagues most recent proposal is unacceptable because it fails to address the gap between the NHL teams that make large profits and the ones that claim they are operating in the red.

I dont see why we have to give back, Ribeiro said. They want us to fix the mistakes they made.

According to, the Boston Bruins are currently carrying the NHLs highest salary cap payroll at 68.8 million, while the Phoenix Coyotes are at the bottom at 44.8 million.

Ribeiro pointed to the recent contracts given to Nashvilles Shea Weber 14 years, 110 million, Pittsburghs Sidney Crosby 12 years, 104.4 million and Minnesotas Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, 13 years, 98 million each as evidence that owners care more about their teams success than the financial stability of the league.

If Im the owner, Id be complaining about those contracts, Ribeiro said. Between them, I think there are owners who will do whatever they want to do and not really care about the bottom ones.

I think between them they should figure out what they want to do as owners and come back and give us an option. Its common sense. What, five years from now are you going to ask another 30 percent because you made the same mistakes for the last 12 years? Its hard to understand.

If there is a lockout, Ribeiro, who is 32 and in the final year of a five-year, 25 million contract, said he has no interest in playing overseas, not with his three children getting accustomed to their new schools in McLean, Va.

Ill probably just stay here and find a job somewhere, he said.

But he will recommend playing elsewhere to some of his younger Capitals teammates.

This time, we know if a lockout happens, we can just go on the other side and well play and well keep in shape, said Ribeiro, who played 17 games with Helsinki of the Finnish league during the 2004-05 lockout.

Guys are less nervous than we were during the 2004-05 lockout because theres an option for us. If they want to lock us, guys will find jobs somewhere else and play and keep playing.

Fans will pay here and owners, too. But I think as players, we learned last time that, hey, we can play other places and make a good living. At the end of the day we want to play hockey and if there is somewhere that accepts us well go there and play.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.


Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.

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3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

The Capitals needed a win in the worst way and they got one, dispatching the Buffalo Sabres in dominating fashion with a 5-1 win.

Washington was locked in a tight game leading 2-0 heading into the third period when Sam Reinhart scored just 14 seconds into the period to pull Buffalo to within one. The Caps then slammed the door shut, scoring three unanswered goals to put away the Sabres.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Alex Ovechkin: This was career game No. 983 for Ovechkin, tying him for the franchise record for most games played with Calle Johansson. Ovechkin very fittingly celebrated the occasion with two goals. The first came on a power play goal from the office, but there was no need for a one-timer on this one. The Sabres gave him all the time he needed to aim up the shot and wrist it into the top corner.

He added a second goal late off a deflection from a John Carlson shot.

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov: To say the Caps have struggled at the start of games would be an understatement. In the last 18 games, Washington has held the lead after the first period only once. Kuznetsov made sure this game started off on the right foot as he scored just 50 seconds into the game. He turned on the jets in the neutral zone to turn the edge on Jason Pominville then easily skated around a weak, ill-advised challenge from Robin Lehner before flinging the puck into the yawning net.

It was the fastest goal to start a game by the Caps this season. It was just the start of what would be a four-point night for the Caps' center as he added three assists.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky had the highlight of the game with his end-to-end goal in the second period to put Washington up 2-0. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he launched himself from the defensive zone, streaked down the center of the ice and in on net to slide the puck through the Lehner's five-hole.

Look how Burakovsky was able to slice through the Sabres' defense. Buffalo had him surrounded, but his speed caught the Sabres off-guard and they were not able to recover in time to actually slow him down.