Apr 8, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
The tough times continue for Mike Ribeiro in Phoenix.
The Coyotes’ big offseason acquisition — signed in free agency for $22 million over four years — has been a dud as of late, going goalless in 10 straight and sitting as a healthy scratch while Phoenix keeps fighting for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
“Obviously, I’m not helping much,” Ribeiro said, per the Arizona Republic. “It’s up to me to play better and step up my game.”
The slide comes just months after Ribeiro had a November to remember, scoring 11 points in 13 games while temporarily emerging as the club’s best center and playmaker. Since then, though, things have gone steadily downhill to the point where, in March, Ribeiro had nearly as many healthy scratches (two) as he did points (four).
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett was blunt in his assessment of what’s wrong, deflecting claims that Ribeiro’s carousel of wingers has played a significant role in his decreased output.
“Really, ‘Ribs’ has to put the work in. That’s the bottom line,” Tippett said. “Everybody likes to rely on other players around them, but you gotta put the work in yourself first before you start looking at wingers.”
Tonight’s game versus Columbus is a huge one for the Coyotes. They head into Tuesday’s action sitting one point back of Dallas for the final wild card spot, and the Stars are hosting Nashville at American Airlines.
If the two teams keep winning, it’ll set up a final day, winner-takes-all matchup for the last playoff spot, as the Stars will take on the ‘Yotes this Sunday in Phoenix.
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