Player of the Month
The European Hockey.Net European Player of the Month is awarded to the player with the most oustanding performance over the course of the month
Nominations are collected at the end of each month, then a vote by the site's admin team decides the winner.
March 2007 - Petr Sykora
For 28-year old Petr Sykora it was soon clear he would become a hockey player. The Pardubice-born player, not to be confused with the current Edmonton Oilers forward, had a perfect role model in his brother Michal who is five years older than him. Together they played for the local HC Pardubice at the turn of the millenium.
So far for the comparisons.
At the time Michal was just about to crack the defensive line-up of the first team and was offered a chance to North-America, young Petr was scoring goals in bunches amongst the peers of his age. Whilst Michal Sykora quickly climbed up the ranks to register nearly 250 NHL games, Petr decided that there's no place like home. A single year across the pond in 1999-2000 had seen him play mostly in the AHL. Sykora didn't like what he was seeing and returned back home in Pardubice with a bag full of experiences. It didn't take him long to become a premier marksman in the Czech league. His return season saw him just bag seven goals, but the following season Sykora exploded for 26 goals in 47 games and his name was set.
Petr Sykora always focused on where to bury the puck
Photo: Jan Beneš - www.sporting-photo.com
Despite receiving several offers from abroad, Sykora pledged his future to Pardubice which had emerged as a strong force in the Czech league in the meantime. At the start of the 2005-06 season, Sykora was seduced for another North-American attempt though. Playing on a mediocre Washington Capitals team Sykora soon realized he had made a mistake and he decided to return home after just 10 games (4 points) where Sykora continued his point-per game scoring again.
The past season is one that will be marked with a red pencill in his book. Peter Sykora became Super Sykora as he broke all personal records. In 50 games, he scored 37 goals and notched 53 points. Enough to win him the Czech league scoring title.
In the post-season he got rid of another enigma. The playoff-funk. Until this season he scored just 13 goals in 61 playoff games for Pardubice. Although Pardubice was eliminated in the finals against Sparta Prague, Sykora was devastating. No less than 12 goals and 6 assists in 18 games earned him yet another scoring trophy as consolation for the missed cup. Furthermore he was awarded the League's MVP trophy.
Icing on the cake for Sykora was his invitation to the national team. Having played in his homeland the coaching staff has often overlooked him for World Championships with the heavy loaded forwards available in the country. Fnially being selected to play for him team in Russia, Sykora did not waste the opportunity and scored five points from 7 games to become one of the few highlights of a mediocre performing Czech team which finished just in seventh place.
In the month of March, Sykora was awarded the European Hockey.Net Player of the Month Award for his stellar post-season performance. He led his team to the final after almost single-handedly eliminating Pardubice's opponents in the Quarter-Finals (Znojmo Orli) and Semi-Finals (Ceské Budejovice). In 12 games he scored 10 goals and had 4 assists.
Although his heroics did not win him and his beloved home team the playoffs, Sykora is a worthy winner to join the previous set of winners of this award.
- March 2007 - Petr Sykora
- February 2007 - Bernd Brückler
- January 2007 - Martin Prochazka
- December 2006 - Martin Kariya
- November 2006 - Pavel Brendl
- October 2006 - Kimmo Rintanen
- September 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- May 2006 - Kenny Jönsson
- April 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- March 2006 - Reto von Arx
- February 2006 - Nicklas Lidström
- January 2006 - Patrick Yetman
- December 2005 - Miroslav Hala
- November 2005 - Vasily Koshechkin
- October 2005 - Tony Salmelainen
- September 2005 - Sergei Zinoviev
- May 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- April 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- March 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- February 2005 - Marian Gaborik
- January 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- December 2004 - Tim Thomas
- November 2004 - Marian Hossa
- October 2004 - Jukka Voutilainen
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