- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More than two years ago the Washington Capitals put out a news release announcing the signing of a highly skilled forward from the Czech Republic they had been chasing for a few years.

However, the player neglected to sign the contract right away. By the time he did, the deadline for international transfers had passed.

Yesterday the Caps announced they finally had signed center-right wing Petr Sykora (no relation to the Anaheim player of the same name), one of the top scorers in the top Czech pro league. He is expected to be present when training camp opens in September.

“It’s time for him to prove himself at the NHL level,” general manager George McPhee said. “He’s been an exceptional player in Europe, a big man [6-foot-3, 206] who can score goals, and we’re hoping he can do the same in the NHL.”

Sykora, 26, originally was drafted 76th overall by Detroit in 1997 and was traded to Nashville a year later. He spent a season with the Predators’ Milwaukee farm team, played two games with Nashville and was returned to the minors. He immediately left for his old team back home.

“Petr is one of the best goal-scorers currently outside the NHL,” McPhee said two years ago in the ill-timed release. “We look forward to his adjustment to North America …”

Sykora has scored 110 goals over the past five seasons in the defensively tough Czech league. He had 25 last season and shared the goal-scoring lead for his team in Pardubice with Colorado’s Milan Hejduk.

Sykora’s older brother, Michal, appeared in 267 NHL games for San Jose, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia.

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