Petr Sykora’s NHL career hasn’t been without its obstacles. However, barring a last minute injury, he will provide further proof that he overcame them when he laces up his skates on Sunday for his 1,000th career NHL game.
Sykora’s NHL career nearly ended in 2009-10 when the Minnesota Wild released him after only using him in 14 games. He spent the 2010-11 campaign in Europe and was unable to secure an NHL contract over the summer. He ended up joining the New Jersey Devils’ training camp on a tryout basis and was able to surprise coach Peter DeBoer. The Devils breathed new life into his NHL career by inking him to a one-year deal. The gamble paid off for both sides as going into Sunday’s contest, Sykora is one of six Devils players to participate in all 64 contests and he is tied for sixth on the team in goals.
Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias also reached the 1,000 game mark with New Jersey this season. If Sykora joins that list, the Devils will be the first team since the 2008-09 Anaheim Ducks to feature at least three players who reached that milestone.