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 on June 22, moved his wife and three children, ages 12, eight and seven, to McLean to start life with the Caps. Then the NHL lockout struck on Sept. 15 and he was left to adjust. The daily regimen? Get everybody off to school, go exercise to stay in shape and then find some way to entertain the kids when they came home.  He even skated with them. Oh – and did a lot of grocery shopping. Errands are a good way to pass the time, too.

“Obviously the first few months it’s nice to have a break,” Ribeiro said on 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 it was 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 if he’d ever get to play a game with Washington. He’d even 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 will likely start this weekend with games likely by Jan. 19 at the latest. It’s a fast jump into the heart of an NHL schedule.

“I’m going to have to be from 0 to 100. I’m not a big guy. My game – it’s not about physical for me, it’s more about mental, how to approach games and get ready mentally,” said Ribeiro, who admitted he’s done limited skating during the lockout. “And physically I’ve been running and working out. Obviously, skating you need the timing and stuff. But I don’t think it’ll be a problem to get back to where I was. I guess two weeks will be enough. And hopefully those guys that have been playing over there like [Alex Ovechkin] can come back and I can give them the puck and can score.”

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