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Nino Niederreiter back in action

Nino Niederreiter skates in pre-game warmups before the

Nino Niederreiter skates in pre-game warmups before the team's annual Blue and White scrimmage and skills competition at Nassau Coliseum. (July 16, 2011) Credit: James Escher

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nino Niederreiter's rookie season has been a mess.

He lost the first six weeks of the season to a groin injury, then eased back into the lineup and made a few rookie mistakes that any 19-year-old might make.

Then he seemed ready to get his footing underneath him, scoring his first goal in Chicago on Dec. 1. But the next night, 11 seconds into Niederreiter's first shift in Dallas, Stars defenseman Mark Fistric leveled him with a forearm to the head, sending the rookie out for two weeks with a concussion. He returned to action Saturday night.

"It's been a tough start for me, no question," Niederreiter said. "But I got healthy and I have to look forward."

Niederreiter said he hadn't been told about general manager Garth Snow's decision not to send him to the World Junior Championship tournament, which starts next week. The Lightning (Brett Connolly) and Ducks (Devante Smith-Pelly) released players on their NHL roster to play.

"If I play well," Niederreiter said, "then I stay here. That's what I want."

Staios (concussion) on IR

Steve Staios was officially announced as out with a concussion Friday after a couple of days of uncertainty. He went to be checked out Wednesday, when the team returned to practice after a 5-3 loss to the Canadiens. Staios was held out of Thursday's loss to the Stars and then placed on injured reserve.

Brian Rolston (concussion) also is out indefinitely, missing out on a return trip here to face the Wild, for which Rolston played from 2005-2008.

Mark Eaton (sprained MCL) was the only Islander on the trip who did not play Saturday night, but Jack Capuano said he is close to being ready to return. He's been out since Nov. 21.

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