This road trip is very scary. Anything from 0-6 points is plausible. Damn mercurial NE teams. Uhh, not that the Sharks aren't inconsistent. :P
You knew it was coming, lots more Petr spam.
Sykora Joins the Rangers and Immediately Feels at Home
By JASON DIAMOS
Published: January 10, 2006
GREENBURGH, N.Y., Jan. 9 - An excited Petr Sykora sat in his new dressing room stall at the Rangers' practice facility Monday, fielding questions about his new team. He was asked about his dwindling goal total this season and whether he felt he still had more to offer at a relatively young age.
"I did not think I would get this question at age 29," said Sykora, who had scored only 7 goals in 39 games for Anaheim before the Mighty Ducks traded him and a fourth-round pick in 2007 to the Rangers on Sunday for the 22-year-old defenseman Maxim Kondratiev. "I thought I'd get this question at age 35. I've got lots left. Come on. I am young for this league. Yes, I have seven goals, but I'm going to score."
Sykora, who had scored at least 20 goals in each of his previous six N.H.L. seasons (including a career-high 35 for the Devils in 2000-1), is being counted as another important player in a Rangers offense that has received 37.6 percent of its goal output from Jaromir Jagr and the rookie Petr Prucha.
Through the Rangers' first 42 games, Jagr has scored 27 goals and Prucha has scored 20.
Rangers Coach Tom Renney had Sykora skating during practice on the left wing on a line with his former Anaheim teammate Steve Rucchin and Prucha.
"We've got to develop some scoring from some other angles in our lineup," Renney said. "We have to be a little less predictable. And what a guy like this does, it certainly adds finish, there's no question about that.
"But he also maybe adds a distraction, maybe loosens somebody else up. Or by his playmaking ability in terms of assists, he could get assists on game-winning goals, too. So it just helps diversify our attack."
The acquisition of Sykora, who was frustrated with his lack of playing time in Anaheim under the Ducks' first-year coach, Randy Carlyle, gives the Rangers seven players from the Czech Republic.
"There's a lot of guys I know here," Sykora said. "It kind of feels like I'm home, pretty much. It's not like coming to a new team, where you have to meet everybody and kind of get to know everybody."
The main reason the Rangers have an imposing Czech contingent is their desire to keep Jagr happy. When asked if he would like the entire 20-man roster to be from the Czech Republic, Jagr laughed and said: "I think it would be too much. Around 15 would be a good number. It would be a great number."
I like how he's all defensive about being young and stuff. I don't like how it sounds like the Rangers are building up some sort of Czech harem for Jagr.
Sykora fits right in with Rangers
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
BY COLIN STEPHENSON
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Petr Sykora admitted that after all those years playing for the Devils, it was a little weird taking part in his first practice with the Rangers about 18 hours after the team acquired him in a trade Sunday with Anaheim.
But, he said, it also felt natural.
"There's a lot of guys I know here," Sykora said in his first public comments since the deal that brought him and a fourth-round pick in 2007 to the Rangers in exchange for 22-year-old defenseman Maxim Kondratiev. "It kind of feels like home, pretty much. It's like you're not coming to a new team where you meet everybody and get to know everybody. Here, I pretty much know the whole team."
There are six other Czech players on the Rangers, including Jaromir Jagr and Sykora's idol, Martin Straka, who is from his hometown of Plzen. And Sykora also played with center Steve Rucchin for two seasons in Anaheim. At practice yesterday, Sykora skated on Rucchin's left wing, with rookie sensation Petr Prucha, another Czech, on the opposite side.
"He brings a lot to a team, there's no question," Rucchin said of Sykora. "He can definitely find the back of the net. I don't know what kind of opportunity he was given in Anaheim. I don't think it was much of one, which is a little surprising, because I just know, from playing with Petr, that he can play the game."
Getting rid of the 29-year-old Sykora, a 6-0, 190-pound, left-handed-shooting right wing who is making a little more than $3 million this season, looks like a straight salary dump. Anaheim is in a dogfight to make the playoffs in the Western Conference and all it got back for Sykora was a young defenseman who had fallen out of the Rangers' top six and was sent to the minor leagues last week.
Sykora was a first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) in 1995 with the Devils and played seven seasons for New Jersey before being dealt to Anaheim in the summer of 2002. He has two 30-goal seasons on his résumé and scored 20 or more goals in each of the last six NHL seasons. This season, he scored just seven goals and 13 assists in 34 games as his ice time was cut dramatically over the last six weeks and he was put on the trading block. He said he was eager to get out of Anaheim and get a fresh start elsewhere.
"I don't know, I guess I just wasn't a fit for the style of hockey," Sykora said when asked why he fell out of favor. "The last 20 games, I either didn't play or played 12 minutes a night. ... So I just want to get the minutes now ... get playing and start scoring and we'll see how it goes. I'm very happy that this team trusted me and traded for me."
Jagr suggested Anaheim's loss will be the Rangers' gain.
"Maxi (Kondratiev), you don't know -- he might be a good defenseman later on -- but it's a good move," Jagr said of the trade. "It's going to improve our team in scoring. (Sykora)'s a great player. Everybody knows what he did with New Jersey, with winning the Cup (in 2000). Because of him and (Patrik) Elias and (Jason) Arnott, that was the main reason -- and Martin Brodeur, of course.
"And for whatever reason, (Sykora) didn't play much in Anaheim," Jagr added. "Maybe the coach (Randy Carlyle) doesn't like offensive players. I don't know -- they traded everybody away."
With seven Czech players now on the Rangers' roster, Jagr was asked if he wants the Rangers to keep going until they have 20 Czechs on the team.
"I think that would be too much," he said with a wide grin. "But around 15 would be a good number."
Petr squared line! *squeaks* And Petr going home to little Prague!
SYKORA FEELS RIGHT AT HOME AS BLUESHIRT
By DAN MARTIN
January 10, 2006 -- Petr Sykora skated as a Ranger for the first time yesterday, but he didn't feel like a typical newcomer.
The 29-year-old forward whom the Blueshirts traded for on Sunday is now the seventh player on the roster from the Czech Republic and if he plays as well as some of his fellow countrymen will likely help the Rangers considerably.
After languishing for the entire season in Anaheim, Sykora finally got the deal he was looking for when Glen Sather sent defenseman Maxim Kondratiev to the Mighty Ducks in return for the former Devil and a fourth-round pick.
"In 40 games in Anaheim, I wasn't really getting an opportunity," said Sykora, who had seven goals and 13 assists under new head coach Randy Carlyle. "I was looking forward to a fresh start."
And he was hoping it would come at the Garden, where he will make his debut tonight against the Flames. Sykora has played with several of his new teammates on the national team and prior to this season, had been a consistent offensive force in the league. He has scored 20 or more goals in each of the past six seasons.
During yesterday's practice, Sykora skated on a line with Steve Rucchin and Czech Martin Rucinsky. Coach Tom Renney said he hasn't determined exactly where Sykora will play tonight, but he is confident he will contribute.
"It looks like he's got quick feet and the ability to move the puck," Renney said.
Over the years, Sykora has also shown an ability to put the puck in the net, something the Rangers certainly he continues here. Despite the Blueshirts' solid (23-12-6-1) record, Jaromir Jagr and Petr Prucha have shouldered an awful lot of the scoring load, combining for 47 of the team's 129 goals. While that ratio has worked so far, it likely won't lead to postseason success.
"We've got to develop scoring from other parts of our lineup," Renney said. "We need to be a little less predictable."
That's especially true now that center Blair Betts is out until after the Olympics with a left knee injury. Sykora's addition should help offset that absence.
Although his contract expires at the end of this season, Sykora expressed an interest in extending his stay in New York.
"I'd love to be here for a long period of time," Sykora said. "But you never know what's going to happen."
Still, Sykora said that he pushed for his agent to get him involved in a trade to New York once he found out that he was on the block. His production improved in his final weeks in Anaheim (nine points in his last 11 games) and he said yesterday that he isn't worried about his game slipping.
"I've got lots left," Sykora said.
Okay, so he's all, I'm not going to say anything about his coach, but then he says he didn't get a chance in Anaheim. But I will say, it's not like he slacked off in Anaheim. He did play hard and he only has 7 goals, but he got stoned a lot by great saves. Also, he was on the point in the PP, not down low where he's more effective *snicker* given that he can both shoot and make nice passes there. He's also been defensively responsible. He's actually been last man back quite a few times, to which I say WTF?!!!
Newcomer Sykora fits right in with Rangers
By ANDREW GROSS
THE JOURNAL NEWS
GREENBURGH — It didn't take long for Petr Sykora to feel comfortable with the Rangers. In fact, it felt like old times — and not just because six other Czechs are on the team.
"I think this team is playing very structured hockey," Sykora said. "The team has a lot of skill, but it kind of reminds me of the style we played for the Devils."
The 29-year-old forward had his first practice with the Rangers yesterday at the Madison Square Garden Training Center. He was acquired from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Sunday along with a fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft for defenseman Maxim Kondratiev, who had been playing for Hartford (AHL).
"It's very exciting for me after those last 40 games I played in Anaheim when I wasn't really given an opportunity," said Sykora, who has seven goals and 13 assists in 34 games this season but topped 20 goals in each of his previous six NHL seasons. "I guess I just wasn't a fit for their style of hockey. I'm just looking forward to getting a fresh start here."
Sykora skated on center Steve Rucchin's right wing — the two were occasional linemates when the Mighty Ducks reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2003 — along with Czech rookie Petr Prucha. Left wing Martin Straka — Sykora's idol when the two were growing up in Plzen — moved to center on an all-Czech top line with right wing Jaromir Jagr and Martin Rucinsky.
Center Michael Nylander, for now, replaced the injured Blair Betts on a third line with right wing Jason Ward and Ville Nieminen.
"That might change," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "We've got to develop some scoring from some other angles in our lineup. We have to be a little less predictable.
"What a guy like (Sykora) does is it certainly adds finish — no question about that. But maybe it adds some distraction and it loosens somebody else up."
Jagr (27 goals, 38 assists) and Prucha (20 goals, four assists) have accounted for 36.4 percent of the Rangers' 129 goals.
"He brings a lot of offense," Jagr said of Sykora. "Everybody knows what he did with New Jersey. They were winning the Cup because of him, (Patrik) Elias and (Jason) Arnott. And (Martin) Brodeur, of course."
The Devils picked Sykora 18th overall in the 1995 draft. He played for them from 1995-2002, when he was traded to Anaheim. He has 209 goals and 272 assists in 642 NHL games, but he had his playing time reduced under new general manager Brian Burke and new coach Randy Carlyle.
"I wanted to get out of there but, in this business, you can't really choose where you want to go," said Sykora, who is being paid $3.1 million this year — the last of a three-year deal. "I was very happy with the way Brian Burke handled the situation. I would love to be here for a long period of time, but you never know what's going to happen."
*giggle* Rangers hockey like Devils hockey? *giggles more* Also, he must be all fanboyish and giddy about Jagr saying nice things about him.
Sykora sees Devils in winning Rangers
BY SHERRY ROSS
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
In assessing the trade that brought skilled forward Petr Sykora to New York on Sunday, Jaromir Jagr unknowingly summed up all that is right with these reborn Rangers and why the deal is so significant.
"If you want to go somewhere in the playoffs, that's what you've got to have: balance on the team," Jagr said.
Notice the superstar winger did not say if the Rangers made the postseason, but what they will do once they get there. These Rangers are already comporting themselves like a playoff-bound team, and that's not to say they're taking anything for granted. The Sykora deal, which should help create a second scoring line to ease the burden on Jagr, speaks to that.
Sykora, 29, will make his Rangers debut tonight at the Garden againt Calgary, wearing the No. 17 that was familiar in the seven seasons he spent with the Devils. He was a crucial component of the Devils' Cup team in 2000 as part of the top line with Patrik Elias and Jason Arnott, although Sykora missed the celebration after the clincher in Game 6 in Dallas because he was knocked out by a hit early in the game and taken to a hospital.
Sykora practiced at left wing yesterday on a line with former Anaheim teammate Steve Rucchin at center and fellow Czech and rookie phenom Petr Prucha on the right side, although coach Tom Renney said he might tinker with his combinations prior to tonight's game. Even after one session, Sykora said he noticed a big change between these Rangers and the blueshirted teams his old Devils so easily demolished in seasons past.
"When we played them a few years ago, we always knew if we played our system that they were going to give us a lot of scoring chances, give up those odd-man rushes, and (it) was a loose hockey club. I don't see that now," Sykora said. "I think this team is playing very structured hockey. It reminds me a lot of the style we played on the Devils. You play in the system, but when you have a chance to go, you go. That's what I'm used to playing. I'm very happy I got traded here."
Sykora is already at ease with the Rangers, who have six other Czech players, including Martin Straka, who is from the same hometown (Plzen) as Sykora. In his three years away from New Jersey, Sykora said he has gained a better appreciation for his old GM Lou Lamoriello, with whom he had some contentious contract battles.
"He knows more about hockey than anybody I ever met," Sykora said. "I can tell you I wouldn't have been anywhere without Lou Lamoriello."
Just reading about him missing the celebration makes me weepy, because then I think about all that other stuff, about Patty wearing his jersey, lying on the ice, talking to him on his cell phone, Petr jumping out of his hospital bed when Whore scored, Whore dedicating the goal to him, Patty and Whore bringing the Cup to him in the hospital and all of them crying. Ahhhh *sniffle*