Mike Ribeiro sounds off about NHL referees

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Mike Ribeiro was upset enough after taking a stick to the face Tuesday night in the Washington Capitals’ loss to the Winnipeg Jets that he eventually was tossed from the game with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and 10-minute misconduct.

Ribeiro, who took a high stick to the throat from Chris Higgins on Jan. 6, 2010 that required him to have a tracheotomy and miss four weeks. So, naturally, he’s sensitive about getting clipped up high.

The first incident happened with 4:54 left in the first period when Jets center Olli Jokinen appeared to high-stick Ribeiro before the puck was dropped. No call was made.

Jokinen’s stick blade appeared to hit Ribeiro up high on the faceoff again with 11:11 left in the third.

Ribeiro had stitches for a cut below his right eye after the game from the first high stick.

He was tossed with 1:16 left, after assisting on Troy Brouwer’s power-play goal.

Listen to the audio here. And read Ribeiro’s comments about what happened:

“I thought I got high-sticked close to my throat again. I turned around and [the referee 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. It’s like the first one, I get high-sticked on the draw and there’s no rule saying that you’re not allowed to be lower than 3 feet or there’s no rule saying you’re not allowed to be low. So I get high-sticked and I go see him between the whistle, I’m like, ‘What’s your take on the high stick on the draw? The puck’s not even dropped.’ He’s like, ‘Well, I don’t want to talk to you.’ So I’m trying to figure [it] out. I kind of stopped, I looked around, like, ‘No one called it?’ I was like, ‘OK, are you just allowed 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.

“So the second time I got high-sticked close to my throat again I looked around and he’s staring at me. 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 happens in a game. They believe they’re like above us or like more power, they feel power, I don’t know. I think I need to just stay focused on my game and let them ref the way they want to ref. When you get high-sticked or [ask them for an] explanation what happened there?

Did anyone tell you they were cracking down on chirping?

“Well, there’s chirping or asking a question. If I go up and ask, ‘What’s your take on the high stick on the draw?’ And he doesn’t want to tell me because he has to answer to it, well, then, how come the guy didn’t get a penalty? There’s no rule saying that you’re not allowed to be low on the draw. But there’s a rule saying if you get high-sticked and you bleed, well the guy has a penalty. Well if you don’t call it… I don’t know, when I got up and I looked around and everyone was just standing there and no one reacted, I was just trying to figure out what happened.”

Early on?

“Yeah, it was like, in between – yeah. When I went to talk to him, there was like 1.8 left in the first period. I went to see him and I was like, ‘What’s your take on what happened?’ He was like, ‘I don’t have an answer. I don’t want to talk about it.’ I just thought, ‘OK, well, so if I go on a faceoff and high-stick someone – I did it, [Vinny] Lecavalier, last game, I high-sticked him but the ref actually dropped the puck. I high-sticked him right here in his chest and I got a penalty for it. This one was stoppage and he high-sticked me and it was fine. There was no answer to it, and he didn’t give me an answer to that. I guess at the end of it, I got carried on there. …

” ‘Well, you’re too low.’ Well, if I’m too low, there’s no rule saying you’re not allowed to be lower than four feet, or whatever it is. There’s a rule that says if you get high-sticked to the face, that should be a penalty. I was just confused. When I went to ask it, I was like, ‘What’s your take on this play?’ He’s like, ‘Well, I don’t want to talk about it.’ I just want to talk to you. I just want to know like – I guess he didn’t have an answer for it. He just pushed it aside and pretty much made up his mind the rest of the game.”

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