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Richards keeps perfect attendance mark going

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 8, 2002

TAMPA -- It was not much of a limp, but it was noticeable.

Brad Richards said Saturday his groin was a bit tender. But the tweak he suffered during Tuesday's practice did not keep the center off the ice Sunday night against the Sabres.

Richards has not missed a game in two seasons with Tampa Bay. That's 160 straight, tying Vancouver's Henrik Sedin for the longest active streak from the start of a career.

"That's why you train in the summer," said Richards, whose assist during the 5-3 loss at the Ice Palace gave him a career-high 42. "That's why you prepare and do those things so you can play. The more games you play, the better it is for your career and everything."

Richards said he thought he might miss a game around Christmas because of a bruised shoulder. He said the only nine games he has missed in his career came in juniors because of a knee injury.

Richards said if he thought he would hurt the team by playing with an injury, he would sit.

"It's a lot of preparation, especially at the NHL level," Richards said of keeping healthy. "But you have to be lucky too."

CHAMPIONSHIP FEELING: Ben Clymer watched on television Saturday as the University of Minnesota beat Maine 4-3 in overtime to win the NCAA title. The Lightning right wing admitted to a pang of jealousy.

"I was envious of every single one of those players," said Clymer, who played for Minnesota. "It's something I would have loved to have accomplished while I was there."

Clymer said he called his former teammate and roommate Rico Pagel to celebrate the victory.

"I said, 'Wow, can you believe this,' " Clymer said. "It was pretty neat to see them come back and show a lot of heart. It was a great game to watch. And for Minnesota to win, it was awesome."

ALUMNI NEWS: Former right wing John Tucker called the event "a success."

Tucker and former players Chris Kontos, Rudy Poeschek, Enrico Ciccone, Pat Jablonski, Paul Ysebaert and Petr Klima captained teams in a round-robin tournament with fans who paid for the privilege.

Tucker, who heads Tampa Bay's alumni association, said the money raised (estimated at $15,000 before expenses) was for the start of two scholarship funds for families that, as he said, "cannot afford to play sports."

"No one got hurt and we raised a bunch of money," Tucker said, "so that's a success."

ODDS AND ENDS: Pavel Kubina's second-period goal gave him 11 (tying a career high). His third-period assist gave him 32 points (establishing a career high). ... Vinny Prospal's assist gave him a career-high 34. ... Left wing Fredrik Modin is a Florida Sports Awards finalist in the category of Professional Hockey Player of the Year. ... Right wing Gaetan Royer was scratched.

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