Right winger Petr Sykora returned to practice on Saturday for the first time in 10 days today. Sykora, who hasn’t practiced since Oct. 1 because of a groin injury and he missed a few practices prior to that with an illness, participated in the Penguins morning skate.
“I feel better,” Sykora said. “I will try to practice tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes.”
Sykora missed the Penguins two games against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden. He planned on returning Saturday night for the home opener against the New Jersey Devils but the injury will force him to miss his third consecutive game.
“I was aiming for today but it didn’t happen,” Sykora said. “I felt the pressure of the game coming. I tried to have a good practice and try to get back as soon as possible and it didn’t happen. You have to take it day by day.”
“We will be cautious with Petr,” head coach Michel Therrien said. “He’s going to have to be 100 percent. It’s a long season. We don’t want to take any risks.”
Sykora is targeting a return in Pittsburgh's match-up with the Philadelphia Flyers next Tuesday at Mellon Arena. However, he still has to overcome his lack of conditioning caused by missing nearly two weeks of practice.
“Out there today, I didn’t feel like I was in any kind of shape,” Sykora said. “I still have three days. I’m going to workout tonight. I’m going to have a couple good practice days. So hopefully I can get through them and get in as good a shape as possible.”
“When you face an injury in training camp you’re behind players regarding conditioning, regarding timing,” Therrien said. “In the meantime, it’s not like its two to three months. When you’re talking about long-term injuries, you’re way behind. With Petr, yes, he’s behind but this is something that (he can get) back pretty quickly.”
The setback is particularly inconvenient for Skyora and the Penguins. He had a great showing in the preseason, scoring three goals in two games. Not to mention, all three of his goals were on the power play, an area Pittsburgh struggled with in the first two games of the season.
“It’s frustrating,” Sykroa said. “I felt great in training camp. I felt that things were going really well. I haven’t really been hurt the last few years. It’s something new for me to deal with. I’ll learn it as I go about it. Hopefully, I can put it behind me Tuesday and just move on and go out and have a good season.”