Report: Former nanny seeks $1M from Ribeiro for alleged assault

A former nanny filed suit against Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro and his wife seeking more than $1 million for what she alleges was a 2012 assault.

TMZ Sports reported the legal action and spoke to the Ribeiro’s lawyer, who proclaimed the couple’s innocence.

"My clients strongly deny these allegations,” the unnamed attorney said, according to TMZ. "We will defend the lawsuit fully. We anticipate the true facts will come out in due course."

According to TMZ, the lawsuit claims unspecified injuries and offers no details of the alleged attack by Mike Ribeiro. It does allege that Ribeiro’s wife verbally attacked the woman.

Ribeiro was with the Dallas Stars for the 2011-12 season and with the Washington Capitals in 2012-13.

Because of his play with Nashville this season (he currently ranks ninth in the NHL in assists) there has been a lot of talk about the contract he signed with Phoenix prior to 2013-14 (four years, $22 million), which was bought out last year, and the fact that he stands to make much more next season than the $1.05 million he is getting from Nashville.

That type of money can lead to false claims from those who seek a piece of it.

However, violence against women by professional athletes is a hot button issue at the moment, and if an assault did occur the Predators will have to take the issue seriously.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Mar 4, 2015 1:52 PM

Vanderbilt baseball delivers top sports moment from the last year

Vanderbilt’s College World Series championship was the top Middle Tennessee’s last sports moment of the last year.

That was the determination of a Nashville Sports Council panel, which annually names the top 10 as part of the annual Pepsi Celebration of Champions.

This year’s list of memorable sports moments was released at a press conference Wednesday morning as were individual award winners, which included Commodores coach Tim Corbin (Sports Person of the Year) and infielder Dansby Swanson (Ed Temple Amateur Male Athlete of the Year).

The countdown of top Middle Tennessee sports moments of the last year:

 

 

10. MTSU Women’s Basketball team finished the regular season with a 26-4 record and won the C-USA conference championship in their first year in the conference.

9. On October 17, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the Bridgestone Arena will host the 2016 NHL All-Star Game for the first time, which brought excitement to all of Nashville’s hockey fans.

8. Golden Tate, former Pope John Paul II High School star athlete, played as a member of the Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle Seahawks.

7. At a press conference on May 6, The Nashville Predators announced Peter Laviolette as their new head coach for the 2014-15 season.

6. From August 20-27, The Nashville Sounds promoted their final home games as “The Last Cheer at Greer”. Their final game had a sold out crowd of 11,067 fans, and the Sounds finished the season with the best home record in the Pacific Coast League with 45 wins.

5. Blackman High School Boys and Girls Basketball both won the 2014 Class AAA State Basketball Championships. The Boys Basketball team finished the regular season with an impressive 25-6 record and the Girls Basketball team finished the regular season with an outstanding 31-1 record.

4. On December 30, Louisiana State University played Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl at LP Field. The crowd of 60, 419 college football fans witnessed Notre Dame defeat LSU in a thrilling game by a score of 31-28.

3. Cumberland University won the 2014 NAIA College World Series by defeating Lewis-Clark State University 3-0 in the championship game. Cumberland University finished the season with a 49-20 record and won their third all-time NAIA Baseball National Championship.

2. From April 6-8, the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four took place at the Bridgestone Arena with the participating teams of Connecticut, Stanford, Notre Dame and Maryland battling for the national championship. A crowd of 17,570 fans witnessed Connecticut defeat Notre Dame by a score of 79-58 in the championship game. Connecticut finished the season with a perfect 40-0 record and claimed their ninth NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball national championship.

1. On June 25, the Vanderbilt University Baseball team defeated Virginia by a score of 3-2 in the third game of the NCAA College World Series finals. With this win, head coach Tim Corbin guided Vanderbilt to their first ever NCAA Division I Baseball national championship.
 

Mar 4, 2015 1:09 PM

Goals against now coming all too regularly for Predators

All of a sudden it’s the proverbial death by a thousand paper cuts for the Nashville Predators.

Their worst stretch of the season (three straight defeats qualifies as a crisis for this team) is not the product of an occasional breakdown or significant meltdown. It is a steady stream of nicks that continue to land them in the loss column.

Following Monday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Nashville has allowed at least one goal in 10 straight periods – easily its longest stretch of the season.

“There’s been some goals that get tipped in by your own guy, stuff like that,” left wing Eric Nystrom said Saturday. “Those are just tough breaks, but at the same time we can definitely be better defensively and pay attention to details in that regard.

“But that’s very minor.”

There were two stretches in the first half of the season of seven straight periods with a goal allowed but neither produced back-to-back defeats. There also were two five-period runs of goals allowed, most recently Feb. 3 and 5 against Toronto and Anaheim, respectively. Again, neither resulted in consecutive losses.

In fairness, the current stretch includes one period, the third last Thursday against Minnesota, includes a goal scored into an empty net. But they all count.

ADDING UP
A period-by-period look at the Nashville Predators’ goals allowed over the last four games:

• Feb. 24 vs. Colorado (W 5-2) 1-0-1 – 2
• Feb. 26 vs. Minnesota (L 4-2) 1-2-1 – 4
• Feb. 28 vs. Detroit (L 4-3) 1-1-2 – 4
• March 2 at N.Y. Rangers (L 4-1) 1-1-2 – 4

Until now, Nashville had not lost back-to-back games in regulation. And until now, it had not allowed more than three in consecutive contests.Just like that, though, the goals and the defeats have added up little by little.

(Photo: Getty Images)
 

Mar 2, 2015 10:36 PM

Weber’s power play prowess unparalleled in Predators history

It is no secret that Shea Weber is – and has been – an important part of the Nashville Predators’ power play.

That fact was reaffirmed Saturday when Nashville, behind by one, got the man advantage with 2:43 to play. In the next 85 seconds Weber let loose with five shots, four of which were on net and one of which was blocked. None went in but no one had any better ideas at that moment when the game with the Detroit Red Wings was on the line.

“They made some saves when they had to,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “One of them we got two or three chances on. Other ones there were shots but we couldn’t get second opportunities the way we wanted to. It seemed like we had traffic. It seemed like we had a push to the net. We just couldn’t get it to drop.”

Not that time, at least.

Weber’s blast from just inside the blue line 54 seconds into a second-period 4-on-3 advantage put the Predators ahead for the first – and only – time, 3-2. Ultimately, Detroit rallied and handed Nashville its second consecutive home defeat, 4-3.

It was just Weber’s fifth power play goal of the season, which pales in comparison to previous campaigns. He had 12 last season and 10 two other times. Similarly, his 13 power-play points currently rank second on the team but are well behind the carer-high 26 he had last season.

When it comes to all-time Predators’ power play goals, however, there is no comparison. It’s Weber and then everybody else.

Saturday’s was the 66th of his career in his 670th NHL contest. That’s an average of one every 10.2 games. The total is 20 more than Kimmo Timonen, who averaged one every 12.4 games and recorded 46 in his time with Nashville.

Of the 14 players with more than 20 all-time power play goals for the Predators, Weber is the only one currently on the team.

“Shea is definitely our best option on the (power play),” defenseman Roman Josi said. “You saw it on the goal he scored. They gave him a lot of room. He got a couple of shots [on the last one] and the goalie made some great saves.”

POWERFUL STUFF
A look at the Nashville Predators’ career leaders in power play goals:

Shea Weber (2005-present) – 66
Kimmo Timonen (1998-2007) – 46
Martin Erat (2001-13) – 42
Jason Arnott (2006-10) – 40
Steve Sullivan (2003-11) – 37
David Legwand (1998-2014) – 35
Patric Hornqvist (2008-14) – 35
Scott Hartnell (2000-07) – 30
Scott Walker (1998-06) – 27
Cliff Ronning (1998-02) – 25
Marek Zidlicky (2003-08) – 25
Andy Delmore (2001-03) – 25
Adam Hall (2001-06) – 24
J-P Dumont (2006-11) – 21
 

Mar 2, 2015 5:30 AM

Ribeiro first Predators player in six years to reach 40 assists

It was not the toughest pass Mike Ribeiro made all season.

With the Nashville Predators on a 4-on-3 advantage Saturday in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings, he had plenty of time and space to figure where he wanted to go with the puck. He chose the most obvious option and eased it toward defenseman Shea Weber, who blasted a shot into the net.

With that, Ribeiro became the eighth player in franchise history – the first in six seasons – to register 40 assists. The last to do so was J-P Dumont, who had 49 in 2008-09.

“(Ribeiro) being a passer, you've always got to be ready to shoot the puck, and I think we've done a good job of that," forward James Neal recently told The Associated Press. "The more you play together, the more chemistry you build, and we feel comfortable with each other.”

A HEAP OF HELPERS
A look at the Nashville Predators players who have registered at least 40 assists in a season:

J-P Dumont (three times) – 49 in 2008-09; 45 in 2006-07; 43 in 2007-08

Paul Kariya (two times) – 54 in 2005-06; 52 in 2006-07

Jason Arnott (one time) – 44 in 2007-08
Cliff Ronning (one time) – 43 in 2000-01
Scott Walker (one time) – 42 in 2003-04
Kimmo Timonen (one time) – 42 in 2006-07
Martin Erat (one time) – 41 in 2006-07
Mike Ribeiro (one time) – 40 in 2014-15-x

(x-through 63 games)

Forty assists is nothing new for the 35-year-old Ribeiro, who signed with Nashville as a free agent last summer and has been one of the NHL’s best bargains in 2014-15. He did so in six previous seasons, five times with Dallas and once with Montreal.

Plus, he had 36 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, which was just 48 games. At that pace, he would have had a career-high 61 in an 82-game season.

If he maintains his current pace this season he will join Paul Kariya as the only Predators ever to register 50.

“I think everybody knew what type of player he was,” coach Peter Laviolette said, according to the AP. “Always been an offensively gifted player. The ability to create and make plays and make other players better, so that was always there. We just wanted him to come in and contribute that way.”

Mar 2, 2015 5:25 AM

Vokoun still respectful of, ready to compete with, Red Wings

For Tomas Vokoun, respect has limits. Or it should.

So he was troubled in April 2004 when he thought that appreciation for, and deference to the Detroit Red Wings had exceeded all reasonable boundaries throughout the hockey world, including the Nashville Predators dressing room. At the time, of course, the Predators were about to play in the NHL playoffs for the first time – against the Red Wings.

“I think we gave them a little too much respect at the time,” Vokoun said. “You know how it is. It is hockey and coming from referees and media and the whole thing was perceived as we didn’t have any chance. … I believed we did.

“At the end of the day we didn’t win but I think we gave them a pretty good run for their money. “

The Predators lost that series in six games but throughout Vokoun played and spoke with an intensity that bordered on … well, disrespectful. He held Detroit to two goals or fewer in four of the six games with one shutout, had a .939 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average.

Chances are things won’t be nearly as heated Saturday when Vokoun leads a team of former Predators players and select others against a squad with Detroit connections in an alumni game (5 p.m., Bridgestone Arena). That one follows the 85 all-time regular season meeting between the Predators and Red Wings (2 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee).

It will be the first contest of its kind for the 38-year-old Vokoun, who retired in December after having missed virtually all of last season due to a reoccurrence of blood clots that first was diagnosed during his time in Nashville. He played 15 seasons and 700 games for five different franchises. More than half of those games (383, to be exact) were with the Predators.

It also will be the first time since last May he has put on his goalie equipment for any reason.

“I was actually contemplating going on the ice the last two weeks … and it ended up never happening,” he said. “I don’t think I can go for the full splits any more, right? I don’t want to be back in the hospital. I had my share of time there last year and I’d definitely like to stay away from there for a little while at least.”

The franchise recognized Vokoun during Thursday’s game against Minnesota for his contributions, which included 161 wins, 21 shutouts.

Then there’s this: Prior to that 2004 playoff series the Predators had just nine regular-season victories over the Red Wings in six years. Over the next six, Nashville’s record against Detroit was 19-17-6.

“I have all the respect in the world for that team,” Vokoun said. “… There’s nothing not to respect, but you still have to play the games against them and you still have to be confident in your ability to win or it doesn’t make sense to be on the ice.”

OK, so maybe things might get a little competitive on Saturday.

More from Vokoun:

On which NHL team he most identifies with: “Obviously, most as a Predator. I (was) here nine years so that was more than half of my career. I was a long time in Florida too but my best memories came from here, by far. … Just being able to get into the NHL and then to grow from a backup into a starter. There’s lots of things I learned here and I went through here – disappointments and obviously success stories – so I think (being) a Predator is definitely the strongest of what I will remember the most.”

On retirement: “I do not miss playing. I think I miss a lot of parts of being a hockey player and being with the guys every day, that camaraderie and traveling and all that, but I do not miss dressing up every day and getting hit with a puck 700 times. … Everybody I talked so said the first year you retire you want to take it easy, enjoy your family and take some time to figure out what you want to do.”

On his last NHL action, when he helped the Pittsburgh Penguins reach the 2013 Eastern Conference finals: “I didn’t have a lot of chances to play in the playoffs. … I did get to experience it and play in conference finals. It was fun. So I know how it feels and what it’s like. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been there once or five times. Once you know the experience you know it. So it was great.”

On the current Nashville team: “You have a team like this you want to win the Cup. Right? You don’t know what’s going to happen next year. Believe me, one thing I learned over the years is that no matter how successful or unsuccessful the season is it’s never the same next year. There’s different players. The team never stays the same. So you don’t know what’s going to be next year. They have a really, really good chance this year, I think.”
 

Feb 27, 2015 5:27 PM

Smith's scoring reaches rare level for Predators draft picks

It was not enough to carry the Nashville Predators to victory.

Craig Smith’s 20th goal of the season Thursday did, however, put him in select company along with some of the franchise’s most notable draft picks.

Combined with his 24 goals last season, the 2009 fourth round selection (98th overall) is just the sixth player drafted by Nashville to score 20 or more goals for the team twice. The list includes the Predators’ all-time leading scorer David Legwand and current captain Shea Weber. In all, eight different homegrown players have scored 20 at least once.

Smith, Patric Hornqvist and Scott Hartnell are the only ones to do so in consecutive seasons.

“I’m just kind of staying hungry,” Smith said. “To be able to contribute to a really good team has been awesome. I really loved the guys that I’ve been playing with. ... So kudos to them too.”

DEVELOPING SCORERS
A look at the Nashville Predators draft picks who have scored at least 20 goals for the team, based the number of times they did it:

4 – Patric Hornqvist (2009-10, 10-11, 11-12 and 13-14)

3 – Martin Erat (2005-06, 07-08 and 09-10)

2 – Craig Smith (2013-14 and 14-15)
2 – Shea Weber (2008-09 and 13-14)
2 – David Legwand (2006-07 and 0809)
2 – Scott Hartnell (2005-06 and 06-07)

1 – Alexander Radulov (2007-08)
1 – Denis Arkhipov (2001-02)

Smith tied Thursday’s game with the Minnesota Wild at 2-2 with 11:29 to play in the second period when he converted a partial breakaway with a diabolically quick shot up and under the crossbar. It was the second time in the period the Predators came back from a one-goal deficit.

Minnesota went ahead for good 1:17 later, though,  and added an empty-net goal late in the contest. The 4-2 defeat was just Nashville’s fourth regulation defeat in 31 home games.

For Smith it was his sixth goal in the last seven games.

“He was really strong (Thursday) night,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “His skating was sharp and he seemed like he had lots of energy, lots of pop out there. He seems to be finding his way offensively with regard to scoring goals right now. He’s a hot player for us.”

He is the third Nashville player with at least 20 goals this season. James Neal was the first to hit that mark, Feb. 17 against San Jose. Filip Forsberg followed two nights later against the New York Islanders.

With 20 games remaining, Smith, who currently trails Neal and Forsberg by one for the team lead, has plenty of time to surpass last season’s total.

“I didn’t set a number on it,” he said, regarding any goals goal. “I just want to try to be consistent and make plays and get chances every night.”

(Photo: Getty Images)

 

Feb 27, 2015 5:05 AM

Provided time is right, Predators plenty willing to fight

Shea Weber got there first, which seemed like the last thing the Nashville Predators needed at the time.

Tied 1-1 with the Colorado Avalanche roughly seven minutes into Tuesday’s contest at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville’s captain didn’t hesitate when he felt Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog was a bit too aggressive with a check on Roman Josi.

As a result, he got to Landeskog a step ahead of center Paul Gaustad, who had the same idea. And they weren’t alone.

“In between periods, even (Eric Nystrom) said it was like a race to get there,” Weber said. “He said he was coming, too.”

By virtue of being first, Weber was the one who fought with the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Landeskog. He also was the one who spent the next 17 minutes in the penalty box because, in addition to a five-minute major for fighting, he was assessed a two-minute instigator penalty, which carries with it an automatic 10-minute misconduct.

That’s a long time for a team to be without one of its best players, not to mention the guy who averages more ice time than anyone else on the team — and nearly everyone else in the league for that matter.

“I, and I would think everybody else in our room would think it was a strong move by our captain,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Roman got steamrolled there and it was a tough hit to take. A lot of strides were taken. For Shea to jump in like that, that’s a sign of a good team.”

Another positive sign in a season filled with them is what the Predators did while Weber was confined to the penalty box. They outscored the Avalanche 1-0 and went ahead to stay on Craig Smith’s goal at 4:32 of the second period.

Then, when Weber came out of the box at 11:02, of that period, things got even better. Four seconds later, Josi scored and made it 3-1.

“I guess that’s just his presence,” Josi said. “If he’s on the ice good things happen. And it did there.”

Nashville does not fight often. Even with two against the Avalanche (Victor Bartley dropped the gloves with Cody McLeod in the third period), only three teams had fewer fighting majors following the completion of Wednesday’s games than the Predators, who had 14.

It had been two weeks since the last one, and Weber had dropped the gloves only one other time, Jan. 10 against Matt Cooke at Minnesota. He, Gaustad (five) and Bartley (two) are the only Predators players with more than one fighting major this season.

This team, though, seems to know when and why to do it. Nashville is 6-3-1 in the 10 games in which it has had at least one fight, 3-0-0, with 17 goals for and five against, in the three games in which there were multiple fights.

FIGHT CARD
A look at this season’s games in which the Nashville Predators have had at least one fighting major:

Oct. 11 vs. Dallas – W 4-1
Nov. 13 at St. Louis – L 4-3
Nov. 18 at Toronto (two) – W 9-2
Dec. 6 vs. Chicago – L 3-1
Dec. 13 at San Jose – L 2-0
Jan. 10 at Minnesota (three) – W 3-1
Jan. 27 vs. Colorado – W 4-3 (OT)
Jan. 29 at St. Louis – L 5-4 (SO)
Feb. 10 vs. Tampa Bay – W 3-2 (OT)
Feb. 24 vs. Colorado (two) – W 5-2

There’s never going to be a good time for this team to be without Weber. If he is going to spend time in the penalty box, though, at least he knows the right time to do what needs to be done — and doesn’t waste a moment getting down to it.

“Shea is our leader,” Josi said. “He leads off the ice and he leads on the ice in every aspect. You couldn’t ask for a better captain than him and, as a [defense] partner, it’s awesome to know he always has your back.

“It was a great response by him.”

Feb 25, 2015 9:20 PM

Predators set record for, have winning record in, games with 40-plus shots

The Nashville Predators did more than give it their best shot in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena.

They shot. And shot. And shot some more in what undeniably was one of their most complete performances of the season.

Nashville outshot Colorado 41-20 and set a franchise record for the number of games with 40-plus shots in a season. This was the eighth, one more than in 2005-06 and 2009-10.

“I thought our guys worked extremely hard in the offensive zone,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We were looking. We were moving and skating. The cycle was there. The forecheck was there. The attempts were there and the quality chances were there as well.”

As recently as two seasons ago, the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, the Predators did not have a single performance with at least 40 shots.

Often, a high shot total is a bad sign. Teams typically unload more on the opposing net when they’re trying to come from behind.

That was not the case against Colorado. The Predators trailed for all of 15 seconds of the first period yet outshot the Avalanche in all three periods, including by 11 (16-5) in the second.

“I think we controlled most of the play and had the puck a lot,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “Our forwards did a great job forechecking and putting their (defense) under pressure. That’s why we had so much zone time and created a lot of chances in the offensive zone.”

Nashville is now 6-1-1 with 40-plus shots and all but certain to finish with a winning record in such games for just the third time in the 10 seasons since rules changes designed to open up the game were instituted in 2005-06.

FIRE AT WILL
A look at the number of times, by season, the Nashville Predators have had 40 or more shots in a game and their record in those contests (2005-06 through present):

8 – 2014-15 (6-1-1)

7 – 2005-06 (7-0-0)
7 – 2009-10 (2-5-0)

5 – 2007-08 (2-2-1)
5 – 2013-14 (1-2-2)

4 – 2008-09 (3-0-1)
4 – 2006-07 (1-1-2)

3 – 2011-12 (1-1-1)

2 – 2010-11 (1-1-0)

0 – 2012-13

Nashville currently is third in the NHL in average shots per game at 32.1, which is on pace to surpass the franchise record for a single season, 2,508, set in 2009-10.

When it comes to shots, less is often more. Not so with this team.

(Photo: Getty Images)

 

Feb 25, 2015 5:10 AM

Commentary: Titans front-office move signals shift in local pro sports scene

The Nashville Predators scored a victory even before their team took the ice Tuesday night against Colorado.

The shakeup in the Tennessee Titans’ front office sent a telling message about the state of affairs in the local professional sports scene.

The resignation (that’s their story, at least) of executive vice president of administration and facilities Don MacLachlan was a resounding triumph for the Predators, whose front-office members long have behaved like a younger sibling starved for attention from his or her parents.

Why? Because one of the two men tabbed to replace MacLachlan is Bob Flynn, who was named head of facilities and game day operations. The Titans hired him from the Predators, where he had been senior director of corporate partnerships.

For more than 15 years, the Predators have fought to carve out their spot in this market while operating in the shadow of the Titans. Now, at a time when things are at their worst for the local NFL franchise, it wants a little of what the NHL club has going on. My, how times have changed.

From the moment they threw open the doors at LP Field with the start of the 1999 season, the Titans operated in their own stratosphere. The team went to the Super Bowl that season, finished with the league’s best regular-season record the next. TV ratings soared. Merchandise flew off the shelves. And so on.

Ticket sales were not something that required annual strategy meetings. They were a cause for celebration. There was a lengthy waiting list for season tickets and single-game sales typically concluded within a couple weeks of when they commenced.

All the while, the Predators went through their growing pains — the expansion years, the desire by outsiders to purchase and relocate the team, high-profile player departures and playoff failures.

One thing that franchise always did, though, was put on a good show. Even when the team wasn’t competitive, there was a reason to come to Bridgestone Arena. How many times since 1998 has the following been uttered? “I went to a hockey game last night and had no idea what was going on. But I had a great time.” Never has that been more true than under the direction of current CEO Jeff Cogen and COO Sean Henry.

Through it all, the front offices of the clubs have been mutually respectful — publicly, at least. They say all the right things. They make the effort to congratulate each others’ successes.

Privately, it’s a different story.

Predators staffers often speak begrudgingly — at best — about what’s happening with the Titans on and off the field. The professional jealousy is palpable, although not as pronounced as it once was.

The Titans, on the other hand, never gave an indication that they knew what was going on with the Predators other than what the standings reflected.

Obviously, someone was paying attention, though.

In fairness, Flynn is not just some guy the Titans plucked out of Bridgestone Arena. He was the general manager of the Nashville Kats when Bud Adams resurrected the Arena Football League franchise and integrated them with the Titans as other NFL teams did in their markets at that time. The Titans staff know him.

Flynn did nothing remarkable in that Kats role, though. Attendance foundered. Little attention was paid to the team and it wasn’t long before the Kats were gone again, this time for good. But Flynn, who had come from Los Angeles, stuck around and got a job at 501 Broadway.

Maybe he learned a thing or two in his years with Predators that will help him now. The Titans — no doubt — think that’s the case because, not long ago, it was unthinkable that they could — or would need to — model themselves after the Predators in any way.

Feb 25, 2015 5:05 AM