Playoff Q&A: Petr Sykora
Petr Sykora is enjoying his first season in Southern California. The eight-year veteran was traded to the Mighty Ducks on July 6, 2002 after spending seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils. He has notched 456 points in 594 career games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sykora has one Stanley Cup ring to his credit and gives Anaheim a speedy playmaking right wing. He has represented the Czech Republic in six international hockey competitions. The 26-year-old forward is poised for another run at hockey's holy grail after the Ducks swept the defending champion Detroit Red Wings in Round 1 of the Playoffs.
Sykora answered questions from NHL.com users on Friday, Apr. 25.
Thanks to all those who submitted questions. Below are the 15 submissions that were chosen and Petr's responses.
PHIL from ENGLAND asked: Who's the best player you've ever played with and why?
A: "I have played with a lot of great players, but I played the most with Patrik Elias, and he is great. We grew up together playing on the ice, scratching up from the minors to winning the Stanley Cup, to being on one of the greatest lines in the league. I would really love to play with him again."
RODDY from ORANGE COUNTY asked: Talk about playing on a line with Kariya and Oates? What makes the line so successful? What does Kariya bring to the team every night?
A: "The mixture of the skill makes that line successful, and we all have a great hockey sense. I played on a great line, the A-Line back in New Jersey, and I think this line can really put up a lot of similar numbers. I really wanted to play with those two guys, and I have had a lot of fun scoring goals with them."
VAL from EWING, NJ asked: Is it strange facing former line-mate Jason Arnott in the playoffs?
A: "Yeah it feels very strange, I really like Arnie, he is one of my favorite hockey players. I have some great memories with him of the success that we had, but I want a Cup and it doesn't matter who we play."
MARIANNE from MILTON, VT asked: The Devils teams you played on were always favored in any playoff series. Is it more gratifying to be the underdog and upset a heavily favored team like Detroit?
A: "It is a little different, even from the beginning of the season. In New Jersey there is pressure to win the Cup, every year, and here it was just to make the playoffs. So it is a real different situation. In the playoffs there is no pressure on us and we can just go out there and play hockey. It is a different challenge, and I want to be a part of the change around of this team. It is a lot of fun to surprise people"
BRITT from LEDUC, AB, CANADA asked: What is the feeling in the dressing room right now?
A: "We are very confident, but we are down to Earth. We are not overconfident, and always well prepared. We are playing every minute like the score is 0-0. The preparation from the coaching staff to the trainers to the players is great."
CHARLES RODRIGUEZ from FLAGSTAFF, AZ asked: Does John-Sebastien Giguere remind you of Martin Brodeur in the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Do you think he can keep it up throughout the playoffs?
A: "The two play different styles, but they are both very competitive, even at practices. They both hate to give up goals, even in practice. If Giggy continues his work ethic, he may be as good as Marty. Right now he is playing the best I have ever seen him play, he is the reason we are doing what we are doing, without him we could not do this. We know that, he knows that, and I know he is going to be great."
BARRY MEIKLE from EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND asked: What was your initial reaction to the trade that brought you to Anaheim, and did you ever think you would beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions in four straight?
A: "It was weird. I have always watched Paul Kariya play and always wanted to play with him. He is an amazing passer, I don't think people realize that, they look at him just as a scorer. He is a great scorer, but he has made some unbelievable passes to me this year. So my first reaction had to be, 'Great, I get to play with Paul!'
We were confident against Detroit and knew we could do it, but four straight has got to be surprising."
STEVEN BROOKS from MONCTON, NB, CANADA asked: What did it feel like to lift the Cup three years ago in New Jersey? Would it be even better in Anaheim?
A: "We are really far away from winning the Cup and shouldn't even discuss it. We are so far away. The highlight of my career was winning the Cup in Jersey, and I hope to do it here in Anaheim, it would be awesome to win the Cup here. You never know what happens, but if we win it here, with this group of guys, that will be the new highlight of my career."
NICK from MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA asked: What do you think will be the key to winning the series against the Stars?
A: "Just to continue to play the way we are playing, make sure [Steve] Rucchin does a great job against [Mike] Modano, and take advantage of our scoring chances."
SBRIAN from TOMS RIVER,NJ asked: How would you feel if you should happen to play the Devils in the Finals?
A: "I just want the Cup and I will do anything possible to win that Cup. I don't care who it would be against. I lost in the Finals once, and it hurts bad, I can't let that happen again."
LOUIS from USA asked: What advice would you give to a rookie entering his first ever playoff game?
A: "Always appreciate when you walk through the locker room that there is a jersey with your name on it and then work hard enough on the ice to keep one there."
VLAD VAINBERG from ROBBINSVILLE, NJ asked: How would you compare the styles of play in Anaheim and NJ?
A: "They are very similar, very defensive, team oriented hockey. The teams play very similar and it was very successful in Jersey, I hope we can repeat some of that here."
RUDY HERNANDEZ from SANTA MONICA, CA asked: How did you feel after scoringthe game winning goal last night against the Stars. What was going through your head after the goal?
A: "I said, 'thank god the game is over'. It felt so great to win that game, it would be a tough one to lose."
DEE from PLACENTIA asked: What is it like in the locker room between periods? Especially when it's the 4th overtime?
A: "We talk about what went right and wrong on the ice and we try to pump each other up. You just have to stay strong and keep at it."
LARRY MONTON from IMPERIAL BEACH,CA asked: Your overtime goal against Dallas, is that the biggest or most memorable goal for you in your pro hockey career?
A: "I have scored in some Stanley Cup Finals' games and those goals are pretty big, but that overtime goal was pretty special."