But here we go, spam! About the player who, according to a caller on Team 1260, has "top-notch NHL hair".
Right price, right time
Deal done with big Czech
By ROBIN BROWNLEE, EDMONTON SUN
A player with the offensive skills of Petr Sykora is hard to pass up when the time and price is right.
So, when the Edmonton Oilers saw an opportunity to add the talented Czech forward to their lineup in the wake of a player exodus out of town that included unhappy Chris Pronger and free agents Jaroslav Spacek and Sergei Samsonov this summer, they pursued it.
After weeks of negotiations with agent Ritch Winter, the Oilers got their man yesterday, putting pen to paper on a one-year contract with the 29-year-old Sykora that'll pay him $2.9 million next season.
In Sykora, the Oilers have added more scoring punch to a group of forwards that already boasts plenty of it in Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, Joffrey Lupul, Raffi Torres and Fernando Pisani.
Just as important, perhaps more so, is the fact Sykora is a power-play specialist in an era of special teams. That will help soften the blow that came when Pronger bolted town for Anaheim after demanding a trade.
Right time. Right price. Enter Sykora.
"I was very happy when I got the offer to play for this team,'' said Sykora, who was introduced to media in the Oilers dressing room yesterday. "I always wanted to play in Canada.''
With the addition of Sykora, who underwent and passed a battery of physical tests at the University of Alberta yesterday morning before the ink on the deal was completed, the Oilers are getting a player who has seven seasons of 20-or-more goals on his resume before his 30th birthday.
EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES
Sykora, who played with Lupul in Anaheim at the start of last season, gives the Oilers an embarrassment of riches on the right side, joining Hemsky, coming off a career year with 77 points, Lupul, who scored 28 goals, and Pisani, who led playoff goal-scorers last spring with 14.
"This team had a lot of success last season. It was a pleasure for me to watch them.'' said Sykora. "Hopefully, I can help them make the extra step.''
The bonus with Sykora is he can play all forward positions. With Hemsky and Lupul emerging as top-tier players and Pisani worthy of better than third-line playing time, the addition of Sykora won't be a problem.
"When I check the roster, it doesn't matter who I play with here or which position,'' said Sykora, who has spent lots of time at centre. "I can play in any position. I can get used to any player. I think I've proved that over the years. I've played the last few years on the right side, so I would probably prefer to play there, but it doesn't really matter.''
If anything, Sykora will provide coach Craig MacTavish with some flexibility in putting together three lines that, from here, look potentially as potent as any group of nine forwards I can think of.
"Petr's a versatile forward who can play any of the three forward positions and he will likely be asked to do so,'' said assistant GM Scott Howson.
"He brings offence to our team ... just as important, he's a proven playoff performer and a Stanley Cup winner. He's been to the final three times. For us, it's an exciting and significant addition to our hockey team.''
POWER PLAY SPECIALIST
As for the power play, Petr Nedved proved before the lockout how effective a creative forward working the half-boards or point can be. With 22 of his 51 points coming on the power play last season, Sykora will be a factor.
Given the circumstances under which Pronger and Nedved left town, it should be mentioned that Sykora is married. That, like Sykora's prowess working the point on the power play, came up yesterday.
"I like the city,'' said Sykora, asked what he knows about life and long winters in this NHL outpost. "When I was 15, 16, 17, I lived here in the summer with a family. I really like the city.
"I don't know who would not like to play here. This is a great organization with an unbelievable history. It's something special and I'm very excited about it.''
And Renata, his bride of one year?
"She has never been to Edmonton,'' smiled Sykora. "She will like Edmonton. She goes wherever I go. She is very supportive.''
Right time. Right price.
What exactly are they referring to when they call him a "big Czech"? Also, I like what he said about Renata, like, you'll like Edmonton because I say so, bitch! Oh man, and "I can get used to any player". Like he needs to advertise his sluttiness.
Thumbs-up from Lupul
By ROBIN BROWNLEE, EDMONTON SUN
"Bust his chops about his hair. Tell him I said he has the best hair in the NHL.''
Joffrey Lupul didn't waste time getting in a friendly dig at Petr Sykora yesterday. And why not? The two new Edmonton Oilers were teammates for parts of two seasons with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and they'll be reunited in Oilers silks this season.
Razzing aside, the presence of Lupul and Czechs Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid and Jan Hejda should make the move to Edmonton easier for Sykora, whose knack for generating offence is proven.
"That's excellent,'' Lupul said from his home in California when told of Sykora's signing. "Petr's a scorer. He shoots the puck really well. He's got a great one-timer and he's definitely not afraid to shoot the puck.
"The other thing he brings is experience. He's won a Stanley Cup. He's won championships and been a key component in those championships.''
Lupul, who still hasn't introduced himself to all of his new teammates since being acquired from Anaheim in the Chris Pronger trade this summer, says Sykora is a solid team player and a positive influence in the dressing room. In short, he'll be right at home.
"He's a good guy. He's a guy who will have no problem fitting right in,'' Lupul said. "He's definitely a good guy to have around in the room.''
Sykora, who is married, says he's heard nothing but positive things about Edmonton. In fact, he's seen the town first hand. Sykora spent time here in the past working out and rehabbing.
Familiarity aside, it didn't hurt that coach Craig MacTavish called and told Sykora he'd like him to play in Edmonton.
"I talked to MacT and he kind of told me what he wants from me,'' Sykora said. "I think this team is a very good fit for my style of play.
"We just informally talked before I signed.
"He basically told me he would like me to play for his team. I told him I would love to play here. It all started with his phone call. It's nice when the coach tells you he wants you to play for his team.''
Way to vouch for his sluttiness, Loops!
Petr ready to wing it
By DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN
In today's NHL, versatility is the key.
At least, such is the case with the Edmonton Oilers newest acquisition, Petr Sykora.
The 29-year-old winger from Plzen, Czech Republic, is the latest addition to the Oiler forward ranks.
The former New Jersey Devil, Anaheim Mighty Duck and New York Ranger can play either wing and is potent on the power play.
"At this level, any player can play anywhere," Sykora said. "I don't think it matters if the coach plays you on the right side or the left side - you just have to go out there and do your job and try to do it well. I think all the players on this team are so skilled and so good that they can play anywhere."
Traditionally Sykora is a right-winger - it's where he prefers to play. But he's willing to play wherever the Oilers see fit next season.
In 682 NHL games, the Devils' first draft choice (18th overall) in 1995, has 225 goals and 287 assists for 512 points.
Last year he split his time with the Ducks and the Rangers, scoring 23 goals and adding 28 assists in 74 games between the two teams.
"The fact that he can play everywhere is going to be a big asset to us," said Oilers assistant GM Scott Howson. "It's gives us lots of options in terms of mix and matching our top seven or eight forwards.
"His versatility will be a huge factor for us."
Sykora joins a forward unit which includes a 36-goal scorer last season in Ryan Smyth, Joffrey Lupul (28 goals), Raffi Torres (27 goals), Jarret Stoll (22 goals), Shawn Horcoff (22 goals), Ales Hemsky (19 goals) and Fernando Pisani (18 goals).
"I don't think we're going to have problems scoring goals," said Sykora. "We just have to make sure all of us come back and help out defensively. It's not all about scoring goals. You have to play the systems and come back and help the defencemen."
Getting an opportunity to play with such a talented offensive group was one of the attractions to Edmonton for Sykora.
He also had fond memories of the city, having spent time here as a teenager.
"I know (former Oiler) Petr Nedved pretty well - we're from the same town, and Ales I know from the world championships in Vienna when we won the worlds," Sykora said. "I talked to them about the team and they said hockey-wise it's unbelievable.
"The ice is great and the whole city is behind you. For me it's going to be a new experience. All the guys I've asked about the style of play here and Edmonton and the city is always positive, so I'm very excited."
Oh, so is "versatility" what we're calling it nowadays?
I have no direct link to it, but if you go to the Oilers site there's a link to audio of his press conference. I love when he gets all defensive and is like, "I'm still a young guy! 29 years old!"
My plan was to eat vegetarian this work week, but was foiled on Day One when my roomie's sister and her bf, who are crashing at our place while they look for an apartment, made a yummy sushi dinner. Why go vegetarian? For fun! To quote AlMo, "I'm not wearing any underwear right now, no reason!"
[Edit: From joolzie, apparently in an interview they asked about how his dogs were going to deal with the cold or something, and he said that he'd buy them fur hats. *sighs*]