- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2005

TORONTO — Petr Sykora solved a pressing problem for the Washington Capitals yesterday — he created a roster vacancy by leaving the team and returning to his native Czech Republic.

The Caps said they parted company with the talented but moody right wing, who never seemed to fit in. Sykora was “assigned” to Pardubice of the Czech Extraleague, according to general manager George McPhee.

It was Sykora’s second shot at the NHL. Drafted originally by Detroit, he played two games for Nashville before returning to Europe three seasons ago. The Caps thought they signed him two years ago and finally coaxed him to Washington in late September just as training camp was ending. He was to have made $525,000 this season.

He played 10 games for Washington with two goals and four points. He played with almost no emotion, a shadow of the wing who annually ranked among Europe’s top goal-scorers.

Washington would have had to make a roster move yesterday to bring center Dainius Zubrus off injured reserve. Sykora, 26, took care of that problem.

The defection opens up a roster spot for one of their prospects, such as Jakub Klepis and Tomas Fleischmann, both from the Czech Republic.

From his belated Sept. 30 arrival, Sykora appeared to be out of place or homesick. It appeared the majority of his off-ice time was spent on his cell phone, “talking to home,” in his words.

“Petr wanted to return to the Czech Republic and we have agreed to the transfer,” McPhee said. “Given the development of our young players and the need to create room for them on our roster, we believe this is the best decision for all involved.”

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