(For those of you new to the format, we "eulogize" former Penguins players once their time on earth in the black and gold, or the light blue and dark blue, comes to an end. Today, we remember the late great Darryl Sydor. We didn't do this for the likes of Kris Beech because well... he's Kris Beech.)
Darryl Sydor came to Pittsburgh as a valuable missing part and he left as a serviceable spare part.
It would be a stretch to say Sydor fulfilled the expectations of him when he arrived here in the 2007 offseason as an unrestricted free agent. It was hoped he could be a top-four defenseman and a contributor to a potent power play. His services were needed after the Penguins were dispatched rather quickly in the 2007 playoffs by Ottawa partially due to a lack of depth on defense. That Penguins team was so thin on the blue line that Josef Melichar was the more desirable option to the likes of Joel Kwiatkowski or Alain Nasreddine. Sydor arrived here with a resume that included two Stanley Cup rings, several semi-productive seasons and was a veteran of several playoff runs. Additionally, having played with the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and Vincent Lecavalier, Sydor was no stranger to the type of world-class talent the Penguins' roster boasted. His experience was expected to steady a very young and inexperienced team.
A slow start by Sydor combined with the emergence of rookie Kris Letang and the acquisition of Hal Gill led to Sydor never really fitting into the role that was expected of him as a Penguin. While he did dress for 74 games last season, he was benched for the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. As the Penguins nearly swept their way to the Cup final, Sydor watched from the press box.
After Letang struggled in the first two games of the Cup final, Sydor was inserted into the lineup and showed very little rust while providing a steady presence against the Red Wings' powerful stable of forwards.
Coming into this season, the Penguins seemed to have a surplus of defensemen but injuries to Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney quickly dug into that depth. Despite the opportunities presented by those ailments, Sydor was unable to find a regular spot in Michel Therrien's lineup and played only sparingly. When he did, he was still a steady reliable presence who was more than competent anytime he was on the ice. He was a luxury for Therrien and his coaching staff when others were inconsistent or injured
But being a competitor, Sydor wanted regular playing time and wasn't content to merely get it when a teammate's game or health was lacking.
Sydor never realized the role the Penguins' management had hoped for him when they signed him, but he was hardly a bust. He was a solid reliable player who just couldn't find playing time in one of the deepest defensive corps in the league. And that's hardly a crime.
Sydor finished with 15 points as a Penguin which is 270th most in the history of the franchise.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-What was the motivation behind dealing Sydor for Boucher?
-Which team made out better in the Boucher-Sydor trade: The Penguins or Stars? Vote on it here.
-Chris Minard and Janne Pesonen each had a goal and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-3 loss to visiting Syracuse.
-AHL Penguins Aaron Boogaard (shoulder) and Luca Caputi (undisclosed) are dealing with injuries.
-It didn't take Penguins prospect Paul Bissonnette long to get back to doing what he does best with the AHL Penguins. He got into a fight with Jon "Nasty" Mirasty of Syracuse yesterday:
(Kudos to EN contributor for the heads up.)
-Simon Gagne had a goal and two assists for the Flyers in a 4-3 win against the Thrashers. Atlanta had a five-game winning streak snapped.
-Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki improved his record against the Thrashers to 11-0-0.
-Flyers forward Joffrey Lupul (right) is trying to make the most out of his ice time.
-Devils goaltender Scott Clemmensen is trying to prove he's an NHL goaltender.
-Former Penguin Alex Kovalev's shootout goal gave the Canadiens a 3-2 win at St. Louis.
-Montreal's once vaunted power play went 0-for-10.
-The NHL stripped several Canadiens players of votes for the All-Star Lame Game after it became obvious there was some sort of ballot stuffing.
-We have no problem with any alledged voting irregularities. The All-Star Game, which has become a painful event to watch, could use any interest it can get. If Montreal fans want to see their players in the game, why not let them? It's not as if this is some sort of election for political office. It's an exhibition game. it means just as much as an Islanders preseason game in Bridgeport.
-Replacing injured defenseman Andrew Ference won't be easy for the Bruins.
-The Senators recalled defenseman Brendan Bell from Binghamton of the AHL.
-The Rick Tocchet era in Tampa Bay has started out much like the Barry Melrose one did. With a loss. Shootout goals by Tuomo Ruutu and Rod Brind'Amour gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 win at Tampa Bay in Tocchet's debut as the Lightning's coach.
-As if the mullet wasn't a dead giveaway, Barry Melrose really showed how out of touch he is during a recent interview with Hockey Night in Canada.
-The Panthers need defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to produce some goals.
-Blues forward Andy McDonald suffered a leg fracture last night.
-Do the Red Wings need to make a choice between forwards Johan Franzen (right) or Marian Hossa when it comes to contracts?
-Could Detroit have three 50-goal scorers this season?
-Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wants his team to be more disciplined at home.
-After an early season slump, Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall has regained his game.
-The Blue Jackets have the worst power play in the league.
-Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish called out forward Dustin Penner.
-Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster is still working his way back from a gruesome leg injury.
-Minnesota defenseman Martin Skoula has been consistent.
-Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo will play his first former team, the Islanders, tonight.
-Dan Boyle had two goals for the Sharks in a 6-5 win at Chicago.
-Jonas Hiller made 29 saves and led the Ducks to a 2-0 shutout of the rival Kings.
-Los Angeles activated forward John Zeiler (right), a native of Pittsburgh, from injured reserve.
-A knee injury to Francois Beauchemin cleared enough room in the salary cap for the Ducks to bring back forward Bobby Ryan from Iowa of the AHL.
-Anaheim's team doctor, Dr. Craig Milhouse, had his house destroyed by wildfires in California.
-The Ducks have had a strong history of goaltending.
-Why aren't goaltenders crazy anymore?
(Photo: Sydor-Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images; Lupul-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Franzen-Carlos Osorio/Associated Press; Zeiler-Matt Slocum/Assocated Press)