Very few people actually thought Petr Sykora would return to the Penguins next year, but hearing it come directly from him is a little disconcerting.
"My agent talked to the management, and I won’t be back [in Pittsburgh]" Sykora told Czech newspaper Aha!
LetsGoPens has the interview translated by Tomas Jandik.
While the fact that Sykora will play elsewhere next season isn't exactly a surprise, his reason for leaving the team may be.
"When the coach does not want [you] nothing can be done," Sykora said.
"It’s never a good thing when you are coached by a former teammate. On top of that, he used to be a player who drifted around as a fourth-liner. I was younger than him, played on the top line, scored goals, was the little star. Now the roles got reversed, and from the first moment I had a feeling that he let me ‘eat it.’ I honestly say that I have not had liked him even as a teammate. Which does not happen to me often."
Sykora scored 53 goals and had 56 assists during his two years with the Penguins.
"I think I had two excellent years there," Sykora said. "But this is business, nobody cares about feelings. I’m pissed off; but on the other hand, it gives me more fuel to prove they had made a mistake."
In January of this year Sykora seemed to be upset with former coach Michel Therrien as well.
He told MF Dnes (LGP translation) that "sometimes you play almost the whole game, [Therrien] sends you on the ice all the time. Then another game comes – and boom, you sit on the bench. You are getting cold; then you don’t want to even go on the ice anymore."
"One has to get used to constantly playing with somebody else every shift; being rotated all the time. You simply have to learn to get the most out of every situation when the coach lets you play," said Sykora.
In that same interview he stated that his main reason for wanting to remain with Pittsburgh was Evgeni Malkin.
"He is exceptional because he can take a puck, beats an opponent, and he still sees you," said Sykora. "He can see you regardless where on the ice you are, even when two players guard him. He can pass to me like nobody ever before."
Despite parting way with the Penguins, Sykora wants to remain in the NHL for at least a few more years.
"I do have two, three years in me to score 25-30 goals per season," he said. "Though I won’t be hanging around the NHL until forty, that’s for sure."
"I don’t want to cling to a roster spot at any cost, to sit on a bench as a fourth-liner."