Voice of experience

TODD SAELHOF -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET


 Darryl Sydor is no rah-rah guy.

 But once in a while, when the mood strikes him, the Stanley Cup champion digs into his glory days with the Dallas Stars to stand up and deliver an important message to his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates.

 Like before Game 2 of this Stanley Cup final against the Calgary Flames.

 "It was a situation where we were looking at the big picture instead of the little picture," said Sydor of speaking to his fellow finallists about the need for focus following a Game 1 loss in Tampa.

 "The little picture is winning one game and that's all we can focus on.

 "I was frustrated and I just blurted it out."

 No worries, Darryl.

 It's expected from you these days.

 After all, Sydor is a 13-year NHL veteran playing in his fourth Stanley Cup final, including one in 1993 alongside Wayne Gretzky with the Los Angeles Kings.

 That experience alone makes him a valuable leader.

 Plus, the Edmonton native has learned from a few of the game's top leaders.

 With the Stars during their '99 championship run, Sydor saw first-hand the impact of charismatic veterans such as Craig Ludwig and Guy Carbonneau.

 "I've been able to feed off guys in Dallas like those two guys," said Sydor, whose Stars also went to the 2000 Stanley Cup final only to lose in six games to the New Jersey Devils.

 "Guys show their leadership in different ways. If I do say something, it's out of the blue. It's just what I felt.

 "I just said what I thought and I really learned that from those guys.

 "They say how they feel and you have to do that."

 Certainly, Sydor feels that responsibility these days because he was brought to the Lightning prior to the trade deadline to help steady an inexperienced but talented team.

 The 32-year-old is one of just four guys in the Lightning locker-room with a Stanley Cup ring.

 The others are Tim Taylor (1997 Detroit Red Wings) and Chris Dingman (2001 Colorado Avalanche), while Brad Lukowich played eight games during the Stars' run to supremacy in '99.

 "I'm five years older, so leadership becomes more my role," said the soft-spoken Sydor. "I think my responsibilty is bigger. It's just that time. Maybe I was watching a lot of guys then. Now maybe guys are watching how I handle situations."

 He handles them with Star-studded experience.

 "It trickled down in Dallas with all the leaders we had there.

 "Right now, with the situations I've been put in, I'm really trying to focus on ways they handled things -- on how we went through ups and downs. Those guys, I fall back on their thoughts a lot."


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