A U.S. hockey team for the gold 

March, 22, 2010

Let me begin this edition of the Monday 10 by congratulating the U.S. Sled Hockey team for capturing gold at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. The Americans blanked Japan, 2-0, in the gold medal game. Forwards Alexi Salamone and Taylor Lipsett scored the goals for Team USA, while goalie Steve Cash turned back five shots to get the shutout.

The U.S. team dominated the tournament, outscoring its opponents, 19-0, in five games. The Americans have won two of the last three gold medals in his event, also winning the tournament in Salt Lake at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games.

For the record, here are the 15 guys who brought home the gold.

Goaltenders -- Steve Cash, Overland, Mo.; Mike Blabac, Buffalo, N.Y.

Defensemen -- Taylor Chace, Hampton Falls, N.H.; Jim Connelly, Galloway, N.J.; Nikko Landeros, Berthoud, Colo.; Andy Yohe, Bettendorf, Iowa.

Forwards -- Brad Emmerson, Amherst, N.Y.; Joe Howard, Kingston, Mass.; Tim Jones, Mt. Ephraim, N.J.; Taylor Lipsett, Mesquite, Texas; Adam Page, Lancaster, N.Y.; Josh Pauls, South Plainfield, N.J.; Alexi Salamone, Grand Island, N.Y.; Greg Shaw, Park City, Utah; Bubba Torres, Riverside, N.J.

Also, here's an additional stick tap for head coach Ray Maluta (Rochester, N.Y.) and general manager J.J. O'Connor (Mt. Prospect, Ill.).

I had the good fortune of meeting O'Connor in January. I don't think I've come across too many better guys. O'Connor suffered a spinal cord injury during a Class AA midget level hockey game in 1995. While the injury confined O'Connor to a wheelchair, it hasn't stopped him from chasing his dreams. Since 2003, he has led USA Hockey's disabled section. In that time, O'Connor has spearheaded the movement for growth in all four disciplines of disabled hockey.

Nice job, J.J.! You and your staff put together one heck of a team.

Now, here's the Monday 10.

1. Flashy milestone: We also have to congratulate Anaheim Ducks veteran sniper Teemu Selanne, who became just the 18th player in league history to reach the 600-goal plateau with a tally during a 5-2 win over the Avalanche on Sunday night in Anaheim.

Selanne needs only one more goal to tie his childhood hero, fellow Finn Jari Kurri, for 17th place on the all-time list. Selanne, Kurri and Czech Jaromir Jagr are the only Non-North American-born players to score 600 or more NHL goals.

Longtime Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic, who retired last summer, was the last skater to reach these lofty heights, scoring No. 600 into an empty net on Feb. 15, 2007.

Who was the first NHLer to reach the 600-goal plateau? Who else? Detroit icon Gordie Howe became the first to hit the mark, beating Montreal's Gump Worsley during a 3-2 win over the Canadiens on Nov. 27, 1965.

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.