1999: It's hard to get around it if you're a Stars fan. We seem to be perpetually caught between trying to move on and trying to celebrate those that brought about our moment of glory and years of Stars dominance. Gone from the NHL are Derian Hatcher, Richard Matvichuk, Craig Ludwig, and Sergei Zubov. Today we can officially add Darryl Sydor to the list.
Sydor, to me, was not a tremendously and blatantly talented individual in any one particular facet of the game, but he succeeded for so long and at such a high level that he must have been doing something at least as well or better than everybody else. His 1,291 career games played are good enough for 16th all time amongst NHL defensemen, and his 507 points place him 51st all time. That's not too shabby when you consider all the blue liners to come in and out of this league.
Darryl Sydor was a model of professionalism, hard work and dedication that most of us took for granted for so long here in Dallas. The team's recent struggles at defense make that painfully obvious by comparison, and I do not mean that as a slight against the current group of defenseman, but as a compliment and a thank you to the Darryl Sydor's and Richard Matvichuk's of this franchise's past. Sydor's primary asset was his heart.
He has the distinction of being traded for 3 different times by the Dallas Stars. They wanted him over and over again. In February of 1996, Darryl was playing for the Los Angeles Kings when the Stars would make one of those many little moves that would add up to a Stanley Cup 3 seasons later. They sent Shane Churla and Doug Zmolek to the Kings for Sydor and a 5th round pick.
More, and that Sydor video...you know which one, after the jump...
When his first tenure with the Stars (8 seasons) was over, they sent him to Columbus in a three way trade with Phoenix for Teppo Numminen, who played only the one year in Dallas. It worked out rather nicely for Darryl, however, because Columbus didn't even keep him for an entire season, sending him to the soon to be champion Lightning for his second Stanley Cup.
Two years later he would return to the Stars, and in his first game back in October of 2006, he scored a breakaway goal after coming out of the penalty box in overtime to beat the Avalanche in their home opener. (One of my many favorite Sydor memories.) After the Stars acquired Mattias Norstrum later that year, however, Sydor was left to free agency and signed with the Penguins.
The Stars giveth, and the Stars taketh away: In the 2008-2009 season, instead of sending Sydor on his way to another eventual cup like they did in 2003, the Stars traded for him and he left the eventual Cup Champ Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Phillipe Boucher's turn that year.
Sydor retired at the age of 38, and comes back to Texas, in a manner of speaking, agreeing to be an assistant coach with the Houston Aeros of the AHL. (Bitter rivals to our Texas Stars?)
While I'm thinking of it, another favorite Sydor memory: He was there in March of 2007 to assist on Mike Modano's 500th goal against the Philadelphia Flyers. Do you suppose Mike sees Darryl retiring and it makes him think twice about all of this playing at 40 years old stuff? Just wishful thinking on my part then, eh?
Now, the obligatory Darryl Sydor video. It's the epitome of the word sacrifice, the kind of hockey he played, and why the Stars were so good at the turn of the century.
Stay hard, Darryl.
1999-00 Round 4/Game 6: Darryl Sydor Injury (via McKay4429061)