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Hillen expected to play Tuesday

Defenseman Jack Hillen should be back in the

Defenseman Jack Hillen should be back in the lineup when the Islanders return for the Olympic break against Chicago next Tuesday. (Jan. 21, 2010) Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

 How about that for a speedy recovery? After what appeared to be a grisly, costly injury, defenseman Jack Hillen is expected to play Tuesday when the Chicago Blackhawks pay a visit to Nassau Coliseum.

If you don't remember the cringe-inducing play, Hillen took an Alex Ovechkin slapshot to the face January 26. Hillen subsequently underwent surgery to repair a broken jaw and damaged teeth and was projected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Part of the reason Hillen's recovery was so expeditious (he shaved about two weeks off the best-case scenario) was because he didn't have to get his jaw wired shut. As a result, Hillen didn't lose too much weight or strength and was able to begin practicing reasonably soon.

More on that later....

**Also my apologies for yesterday; Jeff Tambellini and Jon Sim did indeed practice, but skated as the extra forwards. Sorry about the confusion.

New York Sports