Gary Bettman’s 2012 Massacre. Is Petr Sykora the next victim?
Added by Michael DiGiacomo on October 3, 2012.
Petr Sykora may have seen his last time on ice in the US due to the current NHL Lockout. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Two words hockey fans always hate to hear. Game over and Gary Bettman.
One strike and three lockouts have occurred in my lifetime forcing records to be delayed, stories unwritten, & milestones unachieved. While owners and players continue to debate over revenue, and economic impact causing the games to be delayed, situations like these force players out of the league and end their careers. The hockey world still sits in limbo while the league and NHLPA representatives sit in the driver seat of a 600 horsepower Dodge Viper SRT spinning the tires, blowing smoke, and gaining no traction.
We’ve lost great players this past season like Nicklas Lidstrom who threw in the towel after 20 NHL seasons and other legends like Jaromir Jagr, Daniel Alfredsson, & Teemu Selanne who potentially never lace up again in the NHL after a flip flopping summer of deciding to play the game they love “one more year.” All three gave us one more year and now you, NHL owners, could potentially be giving them no more years. So how does that stomach ache feel? No more Jags, no more Finnish Flash, no more Alfy.
While those three future Hall of Famers gave their all to the game and want to give more, there’s one name flying under the radar who doesn’t have the same career stats, but still could have potentially played his last NHL game on Monday, June 11th, 2012.
Petr Sykora had a little bit of a renaissance last season returning to the New Jersey Devils line up. Not amassing 40+ points since winning the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008-09, he managed to rack up 44 points with the Devils last season and get a chance to compete for Lord Stanley for the 4th time. He’s played over 1000 NHL games and recorded 721 points. Unfortunately, that’s where it potentially stops for him.
With options still open for Sykora overseas, he was hoping to win a spot on the Devils roster for the 2012-13 NHL season. Since Sykora became an unrestricted free agent at the end of last season, if he does play overseas, he would not have an opportunity to come back and play in the league because of not being currently signed to a contract in the NHL. While players overseas under NHL contract have an out clause to come back and play when the league resumes, Petr cannot settle details on a contract until the CBA is renegotiated.
Just like Marty Brodeur wanting to resume playing before November, Sykora would like to start playing before Christmas again. “I’ve got no guarantees here. I have no contract here, so if I find the right place to play and most importantly for my family and for my son to go to a U.S. school in Europe, then I’m probably going to stay here the whole season.”
Time is ticking for the soon to be 36 year old to decide he has to make a decision for number one, himself. “It’s basically up to me when I decide to start playing. I’m not going to wait until January because the seasons in Europe they basically get done in March. So, I don’t have a deadline, but I think I’m going to be playing before Christmas” Sykora continued.
As of right now, no one has a concrete date as to when the NHL is expected to resume operation. There are nine evenings left until the puck was supposed to drop for the beginning of the new NHL season. My optimism is fading as quickly as the green leaves up here in the mountains. It hurts to see this as a fan because I’ve lost my all time favorite player due to the entire 2004-2005 season being locked out, Scott Stevens. He helped captain the Devils to three Stanley Cups and even though concussion syndromes affected Stevens, the lockout is what really sealed his fate as a retired Hall of Famer. I’m not saying Sykora would have led the team in points this upcoming season but it was fun to see what he contributed when no one expected him to do much at all.
So while greed seemed to be prevalent in the decision making process for a new CBA, egos now seem to be taking over and driving the process. The only thing I can say thus far is that the NHL got what they deserved right now, over $100,000,000 of lost revenue due to the cancelled preseason schedule that owners will never get to see. It’s about time logic and common sense find their way into the conversation and get this fixed yesterday. My list of things to look forward to in October is extremely small and now it has become even sparser.
Players careers that ended due to NHL lockouts:
Vincent Damphousse, Ron Francis, Igor Larionov, Al MacInnis, Mark Messier, Adam Oates, Felix Potvin, Cliff Ronning, Scott Stevens, and Steve Thomas.
Players who went to Europe and never returned:
Roman Cechmanek, Arturs Irbe, Kenny Jonsson, Boris Mironov, Aleksey Morozov, Andrei Nikolishin, Robert Reichel, Mikael Renberg, Tommy Salo, and Roman Turek.