Friday

Darryl Sydor

I always had high hopes for Darryl Sydor. He was a great junior player in Kamloops (where he patrolled the blue line with Scott Niedermayer). He showed a lot of offensive promise, and when he joined Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings to start his career in 1991 I kept a close eye on him.

And he went on to a great career. The two-time Stanley Cup champion (Dallas 1999 and Tampa Bay 2004) and had 507 points (98+409) in 1,291 career NHL games.He added another 9 goals and 56 points in 155 Stanley Cup playoff games.

He was such a great skater, blessed with balance and agility and amazing lateral movement. He accelerated well and jumped into the attack smartly. He made strong outlet passes and could rush the puck out of the zone, though usually just to the center line to dump it in.

I guess with his skating ability and junior numbers I had hoped for more offense from Sydor. He did emerge into a very solid two way defender, especially in Dallas, but in Los Angeles, like most young defensemen, he needed some sheltering as he needed time to mature physical and defensively.

Though he challenged the 50 point mark a few times in Dallas, Sydor will not be remembered as a top offensive defenseman but as a really solid, all around blue liner who offered a little of everything to his team.

Sydor, who also had stints in Columbus, Tampa, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, is quick to credit his mentors for his longevity in the NHL.

“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.”

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