There will be a familiar face vying for a spot on the New Jersey Devils
' roster when training camp begins Saturday.
Petr Sykora, the Devils' first-round selection in the 1995 Draft and a member of their 2000 Stanley Cup team, has been invited to the team's camp on a tryout basis, along with Steve Bernier
, Anton Stralman
, J.T. Barnett
, and Thomas Nesbitt.
Sykora, 34, spent last season playing for Dynamo Minsk of the KHL as well as HC Plzen in the Czech League. He last played in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild
, where he scored 3 points in 14 games in 2009-10. The previous season he won his second Stanley Cup, this one as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins
. But he's remembered by many hockey fans for his exploits in New Jersey, where he enjoyed his finest NHL season, sporting career highs with 35 goals and 81 points on the 2000-01 Devils team that lost to Colorado in the Stanley Cup Final. In 445 career games with the Devils, Sykora has 145 goals and 205 assists.
The tryout could make for an interesting reunion for Patrik Elias
and Sykora, who combined with Jason Arnott
to form the top line for that 2000 Devils title team. The bond between the two Czechs was best demonstrated in the 2000 Final after Sykora was injured in Game 6 by a hard Derian Hatcher
hit that knocked him unconscious. With Sykora laid up in the hospital, the Devils won that game and the Cup on an Arnott goal in double-overtime. In the ensuing celebration, Elias skated around the ice wearing Sykora's jersey.