Sykora injured his right foot blocking a shot in Tuesday's Game 6 and was seen Wednesday at Mellon Arena on crutches with a brace on his right foot. Sykora did not take part in Thursday morning's practice at Mellon, the final off-day preparation before Friday's Game 7 against Detroit (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) at Joe Louis Arena.
"We're still treating Petr like we're evaluating him day-to-day," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday afternoon, before his team departed for the short flight to Detroit. "He got a shot off the foot, and he has an injury, and we're kind of hoping he gets better today and better again tomorrow, and we'll see where he's at in that regard."
Sykora was quoted in one report as saying it is unlikely he will play in Game 7, but has not spoken since.
Midway through the second period of Game 6, Sykora laid himself out to deny a point blast from Detroit's Kris Draper. The slap shot crashed into his right ankle, but a prone Sykora was still able to push the puck out of the zone before he pulled himself to his feet and limped off the ice. He finished the game and looked fine in the dressing room that night.
It was Sykora's first game back after having been a healthy scratch for the past 14 games. He last played in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Washington on May 14.
Inserted back into the lineup in Tuesday's Game 6 to provide a jolt to Pittsburgh's struggling offense, Sykora instead made his biggest impact on the defensive side of the puck -- something that did not go unnoticed by his coach or his teammates.
"I think (Sykora's blocked shot) shows you a little bit about what playoffs is all about," Bylsma said. "This is a guy the team counts on to score goals and put it in the net. He gets a chance to be in there for a Game 6. What he does is block a shot, blocks the shot, and gets the puck out from his knees. You know, he went in there to score a goal, but he went in there to battle and lay it on the line."
Whether Sykora will get a chance to battle in Game 7 will likely be made after Friday's morning skate.
Author: Shawn P. Roarke | NHL.com Managing Editor