Here’s the breakdown on that altercation between the Red Wings' goalie Chris Osgood and the Dallas Stars' star:
In the last seconds of a game that was all but over, Mike Ribeiro charged from the blue line toward Detroit’s goal. He veered off to the left, and Osgood angled his stick at him, clipping Ribeiro in the jaw. Understandably pissed, Ribeiro slashed Osgood on the collar.
Stars’ goalie Marty Turco called Osgood’s butt-end a “gutless play.” Cut the angst, Marty—you of all players are in no position to criticize others after your performance in that game.
Osgood said he didn’t mean to butt-end Ribeiro. Then he explained why he did mean to do it.
After witnessing a mugging of Kris Draper, Osgood probably thought Ribeiro was taking a run at Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom (Actually, it was Bryan Rafalski behind the net.). It is unlikely that Ribeiro was trying to put Rafalski on a stretcher, but it is likely that he was trying to send a physical message for the next game.
Ribeiro’s slash was flagrant as all get-out. Yes, goalies are well padded. But not on the side of the neck, which is dangerously close to where Ribeiro’s two-hander came. He could have been trying to chop Osgood’s head off.
But in the battles of hockey rhetoric, all we ever have are the results and not the intentions. The league handled it well. That said, it is likely that Darren McCarty and Mike Ribeiro (if he has a sense of accountability) will fight each other in the early stages of this game.
And I don’t mean to disparage the fine play of Darren McCarty, but his five-minute absence from the ice will hurt the Wings far less than Ribeiro’s will hurt the Stars.
The bottom line is, clichéd as it may sound, that nobody is an angel. Especially after taking a butt-end to the face.