ALSO ON SLAM!
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Monday, May 29, 2000
What was Colt thinking? We may never know
HALIFAX -- Rimouski Oceanic forward Brad Richards had lots of inspiration going into the Memorial Cup final yesterday.
One day after Barrie Colts centre Mike Jefferson was quoted in a Halifax newspaper as saying Richards "wouldn't last five games in the OHL" and wouldn't make it to the NHL, Richards starred with two goals and two assists in the final as the Oceanic beat the Colts 6-2.
"For sure that fired me up," said Richards, who was named winner of the Stafford Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Memorial Cup.
"When a guy like that says something like that, you have to wonder what he's talking about. Hopefully he'll shut up and realize who I am."
Jefferson, who shook hands with every Oceanic player after the game except Richards, could not be reached for comment. He, captain Sheldon Keefe and coach Bill Stewart left after the game without talking to the media.
"It's his choice and it shows his class," Richards said of the snub.
Richards, who won the Canadian Hockey League regular-season scoring title with 71 goals and 186 points, will use his performance at the Memorial Cup as a bargaining chip in contract negotiations with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A third-round pick of Tampa in 1998, Richards has to sign by the deadline on Thursday. If no deal is reached, Richards will be available in the draft next month in Calgary.
He wants the signing cap of $975,000 a year for three years and said the Lightning is offering $750,000 a year.
"I have proved I can play against and win against the best junior players in Canada," said Richards, who would be united with close friend Vincent Lecavalier in Tampa.
"I'm going to wait for what I'm worth. I think I'm worth more than that. But hopefully we'll get something done."
THEY'RE THE BEST: Halifax Mooseheads winger Ramzi Abid, who had six goals and 10 points, won the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as the tournament's top scorer.
Richards and linemate Juraj Kolnik also had 10 points but Abid had more goal. Abid's linemate, Brandon Reid, won the George Parsons Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player.
Reid had a goal and seven points and just one minor penalty. Oceanic goaltender Sebastien Caron, who was tops with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage, captured the Hap Emms Trophy as top goaltender.
Caron, Richards and Kolnik were joined by teammate and defenceman Michel Periard on the all-star team. Barrie captain Sheldon Keefe and defenceman Erik Reitz also were named to the squad.
HOT TICKET: Including yesterday's sellout crowd of 10,000, the overall attendance of 79,877 for the eight games of the Memorial Cup is the second-best in tournament history. The record was set last year in Ottawa, when combined attendance was 84,200 for eight games.
BRIEFLY: A moment of silence was observed before yesterday's game to honour Maurice (Rocket) Richard, who died on Saturday ... The 2001 Memorial Cup in Regina tentatively is scheduled to start May 19.