Rolling out Sillinger's welcome mat

"Getting a player of his experience is going to be an asset, especially on faceoffs," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "He brings an element of experienced scoring to our lineup. It's kind of like an in-season trade."

>>Newsday

For Sillinger, a pending UFA, it's the first "in-season trade" (there have been eight of them) where he didn't have to move. This will be an interesting variable for the rest of the season, because when healthy Sillinger has been a big contributor ever since he came to the Islanders. Important faceoffs, important secondary scoring, important two-way play. Speed even at his age (though one wonders how the hip will slow him down).

But he hasn't played in an NHL game since Feb. 5, he's 37, and it sounds like his body will never be the same. (But whose body is? Sigh.)

"I feel pretty good about my situation," Sillinger said. "They got rid of most of the arthritis, but I do still have some of it ... I'm going to feel some discomfort for quite some time. The main thing is, I know I can get through a game."

This sounds like it could be an in-and-out thing. Maybe they take it slow, keep him out of back-to-backs or sit him one when the schedule gets busy. At minimum, you'd expect a guy like this to miss a few games here and there to rest if his hip starts to bark again.

That said, having a trio of centers like Weight (in his current form), Bailey and Sillinger (when healthy) isn't too shabby, considering where the Islanders have come from. Add Nate Thompson, who has excelled in Scott Gordon's system, and you feel like the Islanders should be in every game. Such a pity that Frans Nielsen and Mike Comrie are hurt.

Welcome back, Mr. Sillinger. May you play well enough and comfortably enough to keep the career going.

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