(Sykora’s camp has refuted the report/7/20/09) came out this week with former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Petr Sykora making a reference that head coach Dan Bylsma had it out for him from day one because the two were former teammates, and Bylsma was a fourth liner, compared to Sykora who was a top line player in Anaheim.
This was not first time that Sykora made a reference in recent months, pertaining to a rift with Bylsma.
Whether Sykora truly believes that Bylsma was out to get him, he needs to look into the mirror and take responsibility.
Sykora struggled admirably down the stretch scoring 5 goals, 3 assists in his final 33 games, including the playoffs.
He wasn’t putting the puck in the net and most importantly he was having no impact in other areas of his game.
Sykora never thought his struggles were his fault and was shocked when Dan Bylsma replaced him with Miroslav Satan in the lineup for Game 5 in the Penguins first round series against Philadelphia.
Satan didn’t light the world on fire but he was playing with an edge, working hard on the forecheck, and was making some kind of impact, which the Penguins weren’t getting from Sykora.
After going with Satan for the final two games in the Flyers series, Bylsma went back to Sykora for games 1 and 2 of the Washington series, with the idea that sitting Sykora would have jumpstarted his game.
It didn’t work as Sykora was non-existent for both games and the blame for Sykora’s struggles down the stretch go on him not anyone else.
Despite a bum shoulder, Sykora failed to realize that there was a problem and that’s what it all comes back too.
New Jersey could be a perfect destination for Sykora
The Penguins interest in retaining Sykora has been lukewarm. Yes, there has been discussions but the team never made an offer.
In Dan Bylsma’s system, Sykora was forced to move his feet and be aggressive in the neutral zone and on the fore-check at times. It’s a type of style that doesn’t fit his game.
Sykora has been productive in more conservative type of systems, where teams wait for the play to come to them.
A perfect destination for him could be returning to the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils have been among a handful of teams to express interest.