Jersey fits just right for Stars

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Imagine playing sports professionally for the team you grew up cheering for.

Pulling on that jersey every day, just like you did as a kid pretending to be a hometown hero, brings a smile to your face every time.

Now guess how it would feel to discover that team no longer wants you. You don't fit in their plans.

Sounds painful.

Apparently, though, wounds heal quickly when you wind up playing in Dallas.

Both Mike Ribeiro and Eric Lindros were shunned by the franchises they rooted for as youngsters. Ribeiro was dealt this summer from the Montreal Canadiens for defenceman Janne Niinimaa. Lindros was given a low-ball offer by the Toronto Maple Leafs before signing with the Stars in the off-season.

The two are now linemates in Dallas and enjoying a great start to the season.

"There's less pressure," said Ribeiro, who was stunned to learn of the trade days before the regular season was set to begin. "There's less stress. Really focusing on what you have to do on the ice and not the papers outside of the rink and what they might say or not say about you. We're just here to play.

"I'm happy to move on. I had great times in Montreal, played for my dream team growing up there, but I think it's time for me to start a new life with a new team and I'm really enjoying myself here."

Lindros, too, seems to be having fun in his new silks.

"I wouldn't say it's more fun. It's a little bit of a change," said a relaxed Lindros at the Saddledome after tossing the football around rather than taking part in an optional morning skate. "Wearing shorts to the rink, it's not bad."

Of course, the current swing through Canada put an end to that.

"We got into Edmonton, it was a nice crisp fall day," said Lindros with a laugh. "It felt like hockey."

Lindros is enjoying a bit of a revival in Texas after playing just 33 games for the Leafs last season.

He had three goals and an assist over his past three games before last night's game against the Flames. His 12 points tied him with Mike Modano for the team lead.

Stars head coach Dave Tippett said a few unlucky bounces are the only things preventing his former Philadelphia Flyers teammate's stats from being more impressive.

"He's fit in with our group very well," said Tippett. "As a person, as a player.

"He's been a bull out there on the ice and he's getting rewarded for it."

Tippett said he's been pleasantly surprised by Ribeiro's production, too. The former Hab started off on the fourth line because of Tippett's lack of familiarity with the 26-year-old centre but earned more ice time.

"He's worked his way in pretty good," said Tippett.


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