New Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro recognized at least one face upon entering the team's locker room for the first time in advance of training camp, as he and fellow recent acquisition James Neal played together for parts of three seasons with the Dallas Stars.
Ribeiro, whose previous contract was bought out by the Arizona Coyotes in June, is set on demonstrating that he can still hang with the NHL's best, and is hoping Neal can help him to that end.
"We played before, we're friends since then. It will just be a matter of practicing together and talking," Ribeiro said, per NHL.com. "I'm sure he's learned some stuff since his first year in the league. It's just getting back that chemistry. You do that by practicing together and trying to find what he likes and what I like to do."
Ribeiro set career-highs in goals (27) and points (83) playing for Dallas in 2007-08. He registered 96 points in 128 games over the past two seasons with the Coyotes and Washington Capitals. After battling through some personal issues during that time, he's hoping for a fresh start in the Music City.
"It was good for me to come early and meet the staff and meet the players so Day One will be like I've been here for a while and not be the new guy in the room," Ribeiro said. "It's nice to come earlier and meet everyone and be comfortable in the room."
The Predators will have a whole new look - stylistically at least - under new head coach Peter Laviolette, and chemistry between Ribeiro and Neal could go a long way towards sharpening the teeth of Nashville's attack.