Saturday, March 03, 2012
Reaching 1,000 games will be special for Petr Sykora after taking another shot at NHL with Devils
When Petr Sykora decided to give the NHL one more try last summer and accepted a training camp tryout invitation from the Devils, he was only 65 games away from the 1,000-game milestone.
At that time, however, reaching 1,000 was the farthest thing from the 35-year-old two-time Stanley Cup winner’s mind.
“Trust me, I wasn’t looking that far ahead,” he said. “I was looking just to make the team. I was looking for Game 1. I was looking just to stay in the lineup. So, I wasn’t really looking forward to Game 1,000. I was just kind of taking it day by day and just stay with thing and try to keep playing and here we are.”
Sykora’s strong training camp earned him a one-year contract with the Devils and now, after playing in the team’s first 64 games, he is on the verge of playing Game 1,000 Sunday afternoon against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
“It’s feels a little more special that I went away almost for a couple of years,” Sykora said. “First of all, I’m happy I’m back in the league and I’m happy the way that things are going right now. It, for sure, is going to be a special night for me.”
Sykora had been out of the league for a year and a half after being let go by the Minnesota Wild midway through the 2009-10 season, having hip surgery and then playing last season in Russia and the Czech Republic. Sykora could have played again this season for his hometown team, Plzen 1929, in the Czech Extraliga, but his wife convinced him to take one more shot at the NHL with the Devils, the team that drafted him 18th overall in 1995 and with which he won his first Stanley Cup in 1995.
“Of course, without my dad I would never be in this league and without my family and my wife, especially, I would never be back here this season. So, those are the two people who really have a lot to do with it. I grew up with my dad mostly, so he really pushed me and he really did everything for me for the hockey.”
Sykora has fit in nicely on the Devils’ second line playing alongside good friend and fellow Czech, Patrik Elias. Of his 15 goals, five are game-winners, tying him with David Clarkson for the team lead.
Sykora will be the third Devil to play in his 1,000th game this season, joining Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Elias played in his 1,000th – all in the Devils’ jersey – on Jan. 6 against Florida. Zubrus played in his 1,000th game on Nov. 16 in Buffalo.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to have at least three players reach the 1,000-game mark in the same season was the 2008-09 Anaheim Ducks, who had Bret Hedican, Todd Marchant, former Devil Rob Niedermayer and Chris Pronger reach the milestone that season.
Sykora, who has played in 509 NHL regular season games as a Devil, also played for the Anaheim Ducks, Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild. In his first 999 games, he has 317 goals and 394 assists for 711 points.
The Devils will practice at 3 p.m. today at Prudential Center before busing to Long Island for Sunday’s game.
Posted by Tom Gulitti on 03/03 at 09:21 AM
Of course the Devils then proceeded to be shut out 1-0 by the Islanders LOL. It's so cool he got to play his 1000th game as a Devil, though. I enjoyed him as a Duck and watched him play much longer there than as a Devil but it seems right that he's there and reunited with Elias. Too bad Arnott didn't stick around. :P It's also cool that his wife bugged him to come back because she's Czech and she would probably rather stay in the Czech Republic than go to... New Jersey.
I watched the pilot episode of Awake. I don't like the premise of the show but I like the actors on the show, especially the kid from Saving Grace (who was also Jack Shephard's fake son on Lost) and B.D. Wong (the psychiatrist from SVU who is now playing... a psychiatrist) so I gave it a chance. There were also other people I like in it but didn't know before watching the pilot like Lily from The 4400 and Michaela McManus, who was an ADA in SVU and a werewolf in The Vampire Diaries.
The premise of the show is that the main character (Lucius Malfoy! Who I can't recognize without his long blonde wig) gets into a car accident with his family and starts living two lives; when he goes to sleep in one "life", he wakes up in the other one (which sounds incredibly tiring). In one life his wife died but his son survived, and in the other one his son died and his wife survived. Both lives seem real to him. The concept turned me off because it sounds so depressing LOL. I think it can get emotionally draining to watch something with the shadow of grief always there, I guess.
Watching the pilot definitely had some of those elements, not to mention the hint that if he continues to live two lives, his brain will get no rest while he's asleep and he'll go crazy. I mean, I don't mind depressing stuff. If you think about it, The Walking Dead is pretty depressing. :P It's just a matter of whether they can do it in such a way that it's not just depressing for the sake of being depressing.
It took a bit of effort/concentration to keep the two realities straight in the pilot. I know they put things in like him wearing different coloured wristbands and having different partners to help distinguish the realities but it's not easy enough to immediately tell which reality you're in. (Fringe does this really well, but the two universes themselves are quite distinctive so I guess it's not a fair comparison.) I would like something even more obvious and in your face like using different coloured filters for each reality.
I'll keep watching to see what direction they take the show in, although I don't feel like this is going to catch on and will be cancelled. :P