#17 / Right Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins
Nov 19, 1976
|2008 - Petr Sykora||76||25||21||46||3||36||13||0||10||0||180||13.9|
To say Petr Sykora had a rough season is a bit of an understatement. From the very first day when Pitt opened up 2008-09 with two games overseas, Sykora was unfortunately out of the lineup with an upper-respiratory infection. Right around the time when he was starting to recover from that, he stepped onto the ice in practice and tweaked his groin. It wasn't until October 14, the fourth game of the season that posted a 3-2 OT win over the Flyers, that Sykora was comfortable enough to return to the ice.
That's not to say the regular season wasn't met with some sense of accomplishment. After posting 48 two-goal games over the span of a 12-year career, Sykie netted his first ever hat trick against the New York Islanders on December 11 as part of a 9-2 win.
Sometime around March, Sykora started to show signs of slumping. For snipers this is often a thing that comes and goes over time, but evidence suggested that Syko wasn't going to crack the slump anytime soon. Rumors of an injury started to mount as his on-ice performance did little to disprove the theory. During the 16-game span from March 1 to April 11, Sykora picked up only two goals and a single helper to add to his point total. It came as no surprise that by the start of an April 15 game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Sykora was not in the lineup. It would remain that way until the playoffs.
The playoffs did little to help his cause, as he was held scoreless over seven games with a lone assist registering in the points category. By May 6, Game 3 against the Capitals, Sykora would once again take a seat. It wasn't until June 9, the sixth games of the seven games series against Detroit, that Syko would return to the lineup. His contributions didn't register on the scoreboard, but fans will be hard-pressed to forget the way he laid his body out to block a shot that sent him hobbling to the bench. At this point it seemed only fitting to hear the following day that Sykora was seen leaving the arena on crutches and would miss the season finale in Detroit.
Sykora will turn 33 by the time November hits. He's shown an ability to work side-by-side with Evgeni Malkin and will be forever known for his clutch performance in Game 5 of last year's Stanley Cup Finals. But the question here Pens fans is this: In light of all his 2008/09 struggles and injuries, do you bring Petr Sykora back next year?