Richmond solid for U.S.

Updated: January 6, 2004, 3:25 AM ET
By E.J. Hradek | ESPN The Magazine

HELSINKI, Finland -- American defenseman Dan Richmond, a second-round pick by the Hurricanes in 2003, turned in a strong performance in the gold medal win over Canada. Richmond assisted on a pair of goals, including Ryan Kesler's tying goal at 6:58 of the third period. Like teammates Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Patrick Eaves, Richmond has a family connection to the NHL. Dan's father, Steve, played for the New York Rangers. Currently, Steve is a scout for the Washington Capitals. The proud father was in attendance Monday night.

Despite the win, Parise didn't have much use for the playing conditions at the Helsinki Ice Arena.

"The ice was bad; it was slow," he said. "Normally, a U.S.-Canada game would be up and down the ice, but this was kind of along the wall and along the boards."

The poor ice surface didn't bother Parise, who was named the tournament's MVP.

Just wondering& why Canada's Nigel Dawes wasn't on the ice in the final two minutes of the gold medal loss? Dawes was the club's leading goal scorer in the tournament. And he had scored a pair of goals in the game. Dawes plays his junior hockey for Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. The Rangers selected Dawes with the 149th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Wild prospect Patrick O'Sullivan was credited with the bizarre game-winning goal. It was his second of the game. He also scored with a laser beam of a wrist shot, beating Canada goalie Marc-Andre Fleury over the shoulder on his glove-hand side at 4:39 of the third period. O'Sullivan, who was the subject of an ESPN The Magazine feature in June, continues to deal with an abusive father. Last year, his father, John, was slapped with a restraining order, forcing him to stay away from his son. Patrick says he still receives mail from his estranged father. But he added that when he recognizes the handwriting, he rips up the letters and throws them in the garbage.

Islanders prospect Sean Bergenheim might be seeing Czech goalie Marek Schwarz in his nightmares. Bergenheim had several good scoring opportunities in Finland's 2-1 bronze medal victory over the Czechs. However, Schwarz denied him on each occasion. The most frustrating moment came at the 10-minute mark of the third period. With his team down 1-0, Bergenheim finally beat Schwarz, only to have the puck hit the post. Bergenheim, who started the year with the Isles and their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, plans to stay in Finland for the remainder of the year to continue his development.

Finnish forwards Lauri Tukonen and Petteri Nokelainen made a good impression on NHL scouts during the tournament. Both players have good size (Tukonen is 6'2, 198; Nokelainen is 6'1, 187) and a strong work ethic. Scouts expect both to be selected in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Although head coach Mike Eaves and assistants John Hynes and Ken Martel deserve a great deal of credit for Team USA's gold medal performance, the contribution of player personnel director Lew Mongelluzzo shouldn't be overlooked. Mongelluzzo, a scout in the Senators' organization, has been involved with selecting America's National Junior team for the last few years. Always a passionate supporter of hockey in the United States, Mongelluzzo no doubt was thrilled with Monday's result.

E.J. Hradek covers hockey for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at ej.hradek@espnmag.com. Also, click here to send E.J. a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.

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