12:15 pm, Iceworks – Mike Sillinger says he’s ready. Now it’s up to the Islanders to decide if they are ready for him.
The last player off the ice today at an optional skate at Iceworks, the veteran center declared his three-game conditioning stint with Bridgeport (AHL) a success. He assisted on three goals in his first game and then scored a goal Friday in a win over Hartford. On Saturday, facing a true test of back-to-back games, Sillinger was scoreless as the Sound Tigers lost 4-1 in Worcester.
“I’m not a miracle worker,” Sillinger said today, “but I’m hopeful I can contribute a good two-way game to our team. The guys have done a real good job lately, keeping us in the hunt and just two games under .500. I’ve done everything the organization asked me to do. I’m confident I can contribute.”
The 37-year old center said he never considered retirement and he appreciates every game he gets to play in the National Hockey League. “The guys who give up, who don’t give their all, they don’t last in this league too long,” he said. Sillinger added that the aggressive forecheck system employed throughout the Islanders system did not tax him in Bridgeport. “If I wasn’t ready to play it, I wouldn’t have gone to the AHL.”
Turns out Sillinger was far from the oldest man in the game in Worcester on Saturday. Playing for the Worcester Sharks was 43-year old right wing Claude Lemieux, attempting an NHL comeback. “He looks great,” said Sillinger, who wished Lemieux good luck the first time he saw him on the ice.
While Lemieux’s road back is longer, Sillinger says he’s ready for Thursday when the Islanders play in Washington. The next step is the green light from the Islanders. As of noon today, there were no official roster announcements.
UPDATED, 1:35 pm – A league source tells Point Blank the Islanders are expected to place Sillinger on the active roster in time for Thursday’s game.
ETC: Asked by PB after the workout today if he – if not the medical staff – has cleared himself to play, rookie wing Kyle Okposo said, “Not yet.”
Excellent report from Greg Logan in Newsday today about Mike Comrie and the possibility he came back too soon after offseason hip surgery. Fans now have Comrie’s side of the story explaining potential reasons for his struggles in the early part of this season. On the day Comrie was shut down to rest, the Islanders announced the center would be out “day-to-day.” From reading Comrie’s comments, it does not appear he viewed this as a day-to-day situation.