Here’s my experience, and a suggestion. I used a Smashing Mag table design page as a source to copy/paste a table.
Experience: From either Firefox 21 or Chromium 25 (I’m writing this from Lubuntu), simply copy > Edit > Paste Special… > HTML copies the table in as a table. There is no freeze, and the table copied from FF is prettier.
This strikes me as counter-intuitive: “paste as HTML” would suggest getting the raw code, not a formatted table. Is it a bug or a feature?
Suggestion: However, I assume you want to edit the code? Simplest for me: in Firefox, Select the table > Right-click > View Selection Source > copy highlighted code > paste (as normal) into Writer. Simple, fast, foolproof. This is how I would do it, anyway.