Darryl Sydor found a new team, but he’ll be searching for a new nickname.
That’s because “Syd” just happened to join a Penguins team with another famous Sid – NHL scoring champ and MVP Sidney Crosby.
“I think I might have to get my nicknamed changed,” Sydor said with a laugh. “His name has gone along further than mine.”
|Darryl Sydor |
It’s not like the veteran blueliner has had an unsuccessful career. Sydor is a two-time Stanley Cup champion (Dallas 1999 and Tampa Bay 2004) and has 471 points (94+377) in 1,097 career NHL games. He hopes his experience pays off for the young Penguins squad.
“I have been able to learn under players like Charlie Huddy, Craig Ludwig, Guy Carbonneau and Mike Keane,” he said. “I learned from Charlie in LA and these other guys in Dallas where I took a lot of learning experiences from and then I’ve been thrown into some situations where I have been able to take my game to the next level. Now, being an experienced defenseman, you’re relied on a lot more in important situations.”
Sydor is thrilled to join the Penguins and help further the team’s growth.
“The Penguins were very interested and I felt like I was wanted. Talking to the coach and talking to the GM, I was very excited about coming here,” he said. “Having players call and saying I’d be able to help them out a lot and I’d be a good fit meant a lot to me. They are one of the teams that was interested right from the start, so I am glad we were able to get something solved.
“It’s very exciting to watch these guys. It seemed like there was something new every night watching the kids play. At the other end, we have to keep the puck out of our net and be a team and that’s what they’ve been. From what I hear, they are a close team with a lot of good people.
“Obviously, watching them, I saw last year was a good year, but then again, that was last year and this is a new year. So, we need to regroup and focus on achieving more.”
Sydor brings reliability, as well as experience, to the Penguins’ defensive corps.
The 35-year-old will enter his 16th season in 2007-08. Yet, he’s missed very few games over his career. He’s appeared in at least 74 games each season since the 1994-95 campaign, which was cut short due to a work stoppage.
“If you have injuries, you play through them. That’s what hockey players do,” he said. “I have been very lucky and fortunate throughout my career to not have many major injuries. You just try to stay in shape the best you can.
“If I am not out there getting hit and battling and getting in people’s faces…I am not the biggest guy, but if it’s a slow game, I am not doing something right. Skate, move the puck and be physical. I think that is my game.”
Sydor has spent most of his career with Western Conference teams in Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus. However, he spent half of the 2003-04 season and all of 2005-06 with Tampa Bay, so adjusting to the Eastern Conference’s playing style won’t be a major obstacle.
“There will be some adjustment, but you just have to understand the team concept and what you do and then you go out and play the game,” he said. “There is a difference in the conferences, but I am looking forward to it.”
And, he looks forward to being on the ice with Crosby.
“I am very excited,” he said. “Being able to break into the league and play with guys like Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri and then to be able to come across another player of this caliber that is doing outstanding things is very exciting for me.”