Capitals center Mike Ribeiro has become acclimated to his new home. Let's be honest -- there wasn't much else to do during the 113-day NHL lockout.

Ribeiro, acquired from the Dallas Stars in a draft-day trade June 22, moved his wife and three children, ages 12, 8 and 7, to McLean to start life with the Caps. Then the NHL lockout struck Sept. 15, and he was left to adjust. The daily regimen? Get everybody off to school, go exercise to stay in shape and find some way to entertain the kids when they come home.

"Obviously the first few months it's nice to have a break," Ribeiro said Monday at Kettler Iceplex -- the first day NHL teams were allowed to open their facilities to the players. "You have the summer with the kids, and then you expect to go back to work and the kids to go back to school. And it became more ... like I was a nanny, mommy-slash-daddy. Doing everything. And it was fine for all those months. But you miss your work."

Ribeiro, a free agent next summer, jokingly wondered whether he ever would get to play a game with Washington. He even had managed to snag his favorite number -- No. 9 -- that he couldn't wear in Dallas or Montreal because that sweater was retired (Mike Modano, Maurice Richard). He won't have to wait much longer to wear it now. Ribeiro skated with teammates Jason Chimera, Mike Green, John Carlson and Jay Beagle on Monday and awaits the rest of the Caps later in the week. Training camp likely will start this weekend with games likely by Jan. 19 at the latest. It's a fast jump into the heart of an NHL schedule.

- Brian McNally