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What the playoffs mean to me: Colin McDonald

New York Islanders' Colin McDonald (13) hugs goalie

New York Islanders' Colin McDonald (13) hugs goalie Evgeni Nabokov after the Islanders defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum. (April 6, 2013) Credit: AP

PHILADELPHIA -- Here's the first in a series that will last as long as we have time for: Islanders players talking about what this playoff berth means to them.

First up is Colin McDonald, the 28-year-old Connecticut native who had just seven NHL games before he made the Islanders out of training camp. He’s missed only three games (two to suspension and one to the flu) and has seven goals, 10 assists and 114 hits this season. This is his first trip to the NHL postseason.

“It’s obviously taken me a few years to get to this level, and it’s just a great feeling to be a part of it and make it to the playoffs, to be with the guys who haven’t been there before at this level, like me... It’s just a fun, exciting time right now.

“I’m happy for the guys here, obviously, but I’m happy for the fans, for the front office, for the team staffers, for everyone -- it’s been a while for the Islanders and it’s great that everyone can enjoy it. This is what you play for. We’re playing for the Cup right now, and that’s all you ever want.

“I’ll think about what it means when my career’s over. I said it when I signed my contract (a two-year, $1.2 million deal) last month: This is just the start for me. It took me a little longer than most guys to get here, but I want to play 6-7 more years after this. And getting to the playoffs is just the beginning as well.”

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