It began with plenty of pomp and circumstance and ended with an unceremonious buyout — all in a year’s time.
Mike Ribeiro’s short-lived stay with the Arizona Coyotes was filled with many highs and lows in between, but ultimately the latter did him in, as the team decided to part ways after one disappointing 47-point campaign Friday.
“He was acquired to be a number one center man,” Coyotes co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo Friday. “The last 40 games, he wasn’t even close to that. Look at the end of the day, we hope that Mike deals with whatever he needs to do with. To his credit, he is doing some of things he needs to do to turn some things around.”
While his inconsistent play often drew the ire of the Valley faithful who filled Jobing.com Arena in 2013-14, as LeBlanc alluded to, it was his behavior off the ice that ultimately did him in with the Coyotes.
Although Arizona’s co-owner wouldn’t address detail-by-detail Ribeiro’s shortcomings away from the rinks, quite simply the organization determined that a fit was never going to be made between the two parties.
“One of the things you consistently hear from Dave [Tippett] and Don [Maloney] is that our organization and our locker room requires a certain character,” said LeBlanc. “This a character team. And we need the right guys with the right character and the right mindset and the right work ethic to be a part of our organization.
“If you don’t come to work with that mindset, no we don’t want you to be a part of our organization.”
As part of the buyout agreement, the Coyotes will pay Ribeiro just shy of $2 million over the next six seasons.