- The Washington Times - Friday, July 4, 2003

Boyd Gordon, the Washington Capitals’ third first-round pick in the 2002 draft class, yesterday signed a three-year deal with the team and will be at training camp in September.

Gordon’s deal will pay him about $550,000 this season.

The center-right wing was chosen 17th overall in 2002 by Washington. The Caps picked defenseman Steve Eminger 12th and wing Alexander Semin of Russia 13th.

Eminger played 17 games with the Caps last season before Christmas and then returned to his junior team in Kitchener, Ontario. The Rangers went on to win the Memorial Cup, junior hockey’s championship. He also will be at camp in September.

Semin, at 19, played for Team Russia in the World Championships this spring, a significant event for someone that age playing for a world class power.

“Boyd Gordon is a well-rounded player,” Washington general manager George McPhee said in a statement. “He brings speed, offense and good defensive play to the organization. He was well coached at the junior level, and we expect that with continued development he will be a solid NHL player for many years.”

One source said Gordon would get a good look during camp but probably would end up in the minors with the Portland (Maine) Pirates for seasoning.

Gordon spent four seasons with Red Deer, Alberta, in the Western Hockey League, owned, managed and coached by Brent Sutter, one of six very tough Sutter brothers to play in the NHL. Last season Gordon had 33 goals and 81 points at center in 56 games, plus four shorthanded goals. He had eight goals and 20 points during the playoffs, leading his team into the WHL finals.

He was instrumental two seasons ago when Red Deer won the Memorial Cup. He had 22 goals and 51 points in 66 games plus 10 goals and 22 points in postseason.

Gordon won a silver medal in the 2003 World Junior Championships when Canada finished second.

The Caps also confirmed that the team had signed forward Petr Sykora from the Czech Republic after maintaining Wednesday that the center was not under contract.

The player is not related to the Petr Sykora who appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals this summer for Anaheim after playing for seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Washington’s Sykora is 24, and was originally drafted 76th overall by Detroit in 1997. His rights were traded to Nashville a year later, and the Predators traded him to Washington in 2002 for a conditional pick.

Sykora played two games with Nashville in 1998-99 but appeared in 73 for Milwaukee of the now-defunct International League. He returned to the Admirals the following season, played three games and returned home.

Washington attempted to bring him back to the NHL before last season, but the center’s financial demands were beyond what the team wanted to spend. He signed for one season plus a team option year at $600,000 and $700,000, respectively.

Sykora’s size seems to be in question. Pardubice, his team in the Czech Republic Extraleague, lists the center at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. The Caps’ Web site lists Sykora at 6-foot-3, 206. In 265 games including playoffs in the Czech league, Sykora had 83 goals and 160 points.

Sykora was rated the eighth best European prospect by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau before the 1997 draft.

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