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Sillinger on retirement
Just got off a conference call with Mike Sillinger and Garth Snow to discuss Sillinger's retirement.
Sillinger said that his health was the "only concern" when making the decision, and that after undergoing two separate procedures on his left hip in the matter of one year (microfracture surgery in February 2008 and hip resurfacing surgery in January 2009) he did not feel like he was capable of playing another year.
"I fought back and tried to come back and I never felt right. Everything looked good but I just knew something else was matter. It wasn't just getting older, or my body not healing correctly," Sillinger said.
Sillinger, who recognized the day as bittersweet, said he is grateful to have played so many years in the NHL.
"Today is a sad day for my family and I, but it's a new beginning. I'm so grateful to have played so long in the NHL," Sillinger said. "I thank the organizations and teammates who made my career a great success. I'm leaving hockey with many accomplishments and memories."
Garth Snow, who played with Sillinger briefly in Vancouver, said the Islanders will miss the loss of Sillinger's veteran leadership.
"You were a great teammate, great in our locker room, and a tremendous talent. You were a player all your teamamtes loved and we thoroughly enjoyed you in our organization," Snow said.
Snow said he'll address the void Sillinger's absence creates internally.
"Mike was good at so many different things as a hockey player, whether it was putting the puck in the net or as a faceoff specialist," Snow said. "We'll try to fill it with the group we have, but they are big shoes to fill."
Sillinger, who has played for an NHL record-setting 12 teams, said he prided himself on being able to accept a new beginning and carry a positive attitude with each team he played.
"Throughout my whole career I've been a role player. I've come to teams to fill a hole. I really wasn't a top line guy or a bottom line guy, but teams signed me as a role player. It was something I was proud of and proud to do."
In his career as an NHL journeyman, Sillinger said he was glad to have spent three seasons with the Islanders.
"My time in Long Island was fantastic," Sillinger said. "i didn't know what to expect when I was signing with Long Island, but everyone told me, 'You're going to a great place and a team with a good bunch of guys there.' No question the team needs a new facility--and I hope they get it--but it was a great place to play."
Sillinger will return home to Regina, SK and spend time with his family before deciding what to do next, but he said he's excited to see the direction the team is heading and looks forward to watching them in the future.
"I'm actually disappointed," Sillinger said about leaving during the rebuild. "I think the Islanders have a great young team with Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, and now John Tavares. It's gonna be an exciting team in the near future."