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McPhee talked to former Caps center Jeff Halpern, who played with Ribeiro in Dallas, and got good feedback. Knowing that Ribeiro is happily remarried with some strife behind him is another positive development.

“You certainly like to have people who are settled in their personal lives, that everything is OK in that regard, because I’ve been in other situations when guys go through divorces and that sort of thing,” McPhee said. “It’s hard. It’s hard on them and affects their performance.

“It’s nice to have a Mike Ribeiro who’s in a good place in his life and happy and looking forward to a challenge and bringing that maturity to this hockey club.”

At first glance, Ribeiro comes off like a goofball. Forward Brooks Laich recalled seeing Ribeiro leaving the rink in Dallas two years ago and being in awe of his fashion sense.

“I was like ‘Holy cow, somebody put a mirror in front of that guy,’” Laich said. “But hey, it’s never a bad thing. If we were all the same, it would be all boring. I like him. The short time that I’ve known him, I really like him. And I think he’s going to bring some flair for sure.”

He will. Ribeiro is looking forward to adding some sarcasm and humor to the Caps’ locker room, even as he talks seriously about his role as a veteran voice.

Ribeiro is confident that as he has aged, he has become better on the ice because he’s not out drinking as often. He’s a husband and a father, and he hopes that means he’s a better hockey player, too.

“It’s just a healthier life,” Ribeiro said. “If you’re out and partying, you come back, translate that to the ice, it’s going to catch up at some point.”

Ribeiro is upbeat when he talks about his new life in the D.C. area. He doesn’t want to move his family again and hopes he can earn another contract with the Caps.

Since he moved to town, he has talked to captain Alex Ovechkin more than any other teammate. With Ovechkin recently engaged to tennis star Maria Kirilenko, there are parallels between him and Ribeiro.

But if you ask Ribeiro, Ovechkin is maturing at a faster rate.

“I won’t tell you where I was at his age, you know what I mean?” Ribeiro said. “I think when you get to 25, 26, 27, I bet you know a little bit more of what you want and what you don’t want.”

Ribeiro knows what he wants now. On the ice, it’s to play until he’s 39 or 40. Off the ice, it’s to learn from plenty of life experience.

“You try not to re-create the mistakes you made in other cities,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of years left, and hopefully I can mature enough to know what to do and not to. I’m at a better place in my life and I know myself better as a person, too.”