"We've had success with the group we have in. It's nothing against Petr. I feel for Petr to be successful, he's got to play in the top two lines. And if he plays on the top two lines, who are you taking out? We had Petr on the fourth line. If he's playing six, seven minutes, it doesn't seem like he's having any impact."
You can't really blame Richards at the moment. The Wild have won four of their last five and scored 19 goals in that time. Minnesota's offense (outside of their 1-0 shutout at the hands of St. Louis on Thursday night) is currently firing on all cylinders. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the motto Richards is currently following.
But it's now been five games that Sykora has sat out and his supporters have come together via Twitter to campaign for his return to the ice. The "Free Petr" (#freepetr) trending topic is bringing together not just some Wild fans, but Sykora fans from all over the NHL. This has caused some to put their Photoshop skills to use and create support posters to further the campaign as you can see.
Staying away from any Richards bashing, yesterday Walsh Tweeted a couple of stories and some statistics on Sykora. There was some backlash in November after Walsh's eventual on-point analysis about the Montreal Canadiens goaltending situation, so it seems he's taking a different route this time to help the case of one of his clients.
After this morning's skate, the Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reported that it appears Sykora will be sitting out for the sixth straight game barring any last minute injuries to the Wild lineup. And thus the "Free Petr" campaign continues with apparently no end in sight.