Sydor puzzled over move to forward
Darryl Sydor deflected the question - why did the longest-tenured NHL defenseman on the Penguins' roster play six minutes and 31 seconds Saturday night as a left wing• - to coach Michel Therrien.
"Ask him," Sydor said following the Penguins' 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils at Mellon Arena.
"I'm going to keep to myself, be a professional and work hard."
Therrien, who essentially shelved the fourth line that Sydor shared with right wing Eric Godard and forward Michael Zigomanis, said Sydor's role last night was determined by the need to use him at the point on the Penguins' second power-play unit.
"And we thought (rookie defenseman Alex) Goligoski did a great job his last game, and we're going to work with him," Therrien said.
Goligoski worked a defense pairing with Mark Eaton last night, as was the case Oct. 5 in a game against the Ottawa Senators at Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.
Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Ryan Whitney each played multiple games as a fourth-line left wing last season.
Sydor said yesterday he had never played more than "spot duty" as a left wing in the NHL.
Sykora returns to ice
Right wing Petr Sykora was back on the ice, but not in the lineup.
He practiced yesterday at the Penguins' morning skate, his first on-ice appearance with teammates since Oct. 1. However, Sykora did not play against New Jersey.
Sykora has yet to appear in a game this season. He is only slightly optimistic an injured groin will have healed enough for him to dress Tuesday, when the Penguins play host to another Atlantic Division rival, Philadelphia.
"I'll try to practice (today) and see how it goes," Sykora said. "I felt pretty good (yesterday). But the next step is the hard practice. I'll just have to take it day-by-day and see how it goes."
Therrien said Sykora will not be rushed to return, but stressed his self-evaluation would carry significant weight with that decision.
Sykora said his stretch of inactivity - he's practiced only twice since Sept. 27 - has rendered his training camp useless.
"I (don't) feel like I'm in any kind of shape," Sykora said. "I was breathing all over the place."
Around the boards
Forwards Paul Bissonnette, Bill Thomas and Sykora were scratched for the Penguins. Thomas, a Fox Chapel High School graduate, would have madefive consecutive home openers the team dressed a Pittsburgh-born player ... FSN Pittsburgh will broadcast a special titled "Under the Lights: To Sweden and Beyond" at 10 p.m. tonight.
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