Today’s player of the game was someone who came up when I was looking at the 1990 draft yesterday and then once again when I was watching the Game of the Night.
Sydor was drafted 7th overall in the 1990 draft by the Los Angeles Kings. After playing two more seasons in Kamloops he joined the Kings in 1992. In his first full season, Sydor was one of three young defencemen along with Blake and Zhitnik who played a major role in the team’s run to the Cup finals.
It was in the Montreal series where the inexperience on defence really showed as the Kings were often scrambling in their own zone and the Canadiens scored three overtime goals to win the Cup. While it appeared at that time that the young core would be kept together for years to come, they often struggled to live up to expectations and two-and-a-half years later Sydor was traded to Dallas along with a 5th round pick for Shane Churla and Doug Zmolek.
In his seven+ seasons in Dallas, Sydor blossomed into the defenceman he had the potential to become under Ken Hitchcock. He had five seasons of 8 or more goals (including a career high of 14) and recorded over 45 points four times. He missed only 25 games during that span and played in 92 playoff games, winning the Cup in 1999.
After a brief stop in Columbus, Sydor was traded to Tampa Bay during the 03-04 season and provided veteran leadership for a very young team that surprised the hockey world and won the Cup. After one more season in Tampa Bay, Sydor was traded back to Dallas, where he scored the OT winner on Opening Night .
Although he seemed like he would never fulfill his full potential in LA, Sydor has had a very solid career. He’s won a gold medal at the World Juniors, a Memorial Cup and two Stanley Cups. He’s played in over 1000 regular season games, 144 playoff games, and two All-star games. At age 34 he still has a few years left in him.
In case you were wondering, Doug Zmolek played just 119 games for LA, another 105 in Chicago and he was out of the league by 2000. Shane Chula played just 11 games in LA before a brief stint in New York. He retired in 1997.
A Young Darryl Sydor (yes that's Robb Stauber in the background)
Sydor and Nieuwendyk in the Cup Finals
Second Cup win in Tampa
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