Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Devils sign Petr Sykora
By Katie Strang
NEWARK, N.J. -- After an impressive training camp, 34-year-old Petr Sykora is back with the New Jersey Devils.
Sykora, who came to New Jersey on a tryout basis, signed a one-year deal Wednesday morning.
"Seriously, I am thrilled I signed a contract," Sykora said. "Right now I'm kind of emotionally drained but I think it will sink in later today. I'm very, very happy."
This will be Sykora's second stint with the Devils. He played for New Jersey from 1995 to 2001 and was part of the 2000 Stanley Cup championship team, but he spent last season playing in his native Czech Republic and Russia.
"It feels really special, because this is my home," Sykora said.
Sykora played most of training camp with former linemate Patrik Elias and Zach Parise, and it was his offensive production on that top line that convinced coach Pete DeBoer he deserved a roster spot.
"He scores and it's no secret we were the lowest-scoring team in the league last year," DeBoer said. "Here's a guy that's come in and managed to create offense and create it consistently through training camp. He's got the skills to do that, he's done it in the past and we're hoping he's got another year left in him at least here."
In pursuit of his NHL return, Sykora said he simply tried to play to his strengths.
"You have to separate yourselves from other guys and you have to show you can bring something else to the team," Sykora said. "I'm not a great skater, I'm not a guy that can fly around with the puck, but I can get in position to score goals and I can score some goals."
Was going to camp on a tryout a gamble? Yes, but one made easier by the familiarity of playing with his former team.
"I think that's one of the reasons it went the way it did," Sykora said. "I have a lot of support here in New Jersey, so many people cheering for me and making it easier to go throughout the camp."
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.