Quotes from Mike Sillinger's retirement call

Thought this might be of interest to Islanders fans, 11 other teams' fans -- and probably fans around the league who had an idea of what a great teammate and quality player Mike Sillinger was.

Sillinger's sold his house on Long Island and moved back to Regina, Saskatchewan, where his kids are starting school, but you know the Isles will be seeing him drop in on training camp next month in Saskatoon.

Here is a sampling of quotes from his conference call upon retiring from the NHL, where he touched on how tough it is to leave, how much he enjoyed Long Island, what it was like starting out in Detroit, and whether he'll be at training camp to help (His quip: "I don't know if I can help -- I can't really skate anymore."):

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

"Today is a sad day for my family and I. ... My decision was clear after dealing with hip surgery for the last two seasons. ... Also had to consider quality of life after hockey."

GARTH SNOW TRIBUTE

"We played together briefly in Vancouver. You're a great teammate. You're great in the locker room. A player all your teammates loved."

MEDICAL ISSUES

"Health is the only concern. ... After my last game, at Madison Square Garden on Dec. [29] 30 [note: That's right, he scored on the Rangers' home turf in his final NHL game. Not bad.], I had an MRI the next day and realized the only way was to have a titanium ball and joint put in. So I feel great now, but to come back and try to be a hero, I'd end up getting a hip replacement before I'm 40."

DOES IT HURT TO END IT THIS WAY, WITH SURGERY INTERRUPTING YOUR LAST SEASON?

"It hurts. It was the past two seasons, actually. I knew going in that microfracture procedure might not work. It can last three months, it can last three years. So long story short: here we are. ...

"The first surgery I had was a microfracture procedure where they try to save the cartilage. I knew then at some point I'd have to have more surgery. I came back, but it never felt right. I just knew something else was the matter. Sure enough, as the workload got more intense, it wasn't just getting older -- the cartilage was deteriorating. They looked and it was bone on bone, so..."

WHAT NEXT? COACHING IN THE NHL SOME DAY?

"Just gonna take a step back. Lot of buddies who have retired say hey, take a step back and enjoy your family...

"I have a tough enough time coaching my kids as it is. (laughs) ... I want to make sure whatever I do if I stay in hockey, I want to have the passion to do it. ... to get involved, be the best I can be."

12 TEAMS. TELL US ABOUT THE JOURNEY

"Do you have all day? (laughs)"

TIME ON LONG ISLAND

"My time on Long Island was fantastic, from making the playoffs to my 1,000th game. I didn't know what to expect, having spent most of my career in the Western Conference. But I heard from other guys that you're going to a great place, great community, great people. I really enjoyed my time there. The 1000th game was a big memory. The organization was so first-class, and my teammates -- I'll never forget it."

WHERE THE ISLANDERS ARE

"I'm actually kind of disappointed. I think the Islanders have a great young team. They're going to be an exciting team in the near future. I see my good buddy Doug Weight re-sign with the Islanders and I'm kind of jealous. He gets to keep playing and help those kids along."

STARTING OUT IN DETROIT

"Detroit was a special organization. I didn't realize how fortunate I was to break in with an organization like that. Coffey, Yzerman, Chaisson, Ciccarelli. I played with a lot of great leaders. Those guys taught me how to be a great teammate. I got to play in the minors and win the Calder Cup, which was great for my career."

HELPING OUT AT ISLANDERS TRAINING CAMP IN SASKATOON?

"I don't know if I can help -- I can't really skate anymore. (laughs) I've talked to some of the guys though ... we're just a few hours away, so I'm sure I'll make an appearance."

APPROACHING LIFE AMID SO MANY TRADES

"... Try to just carrying a positive attitude and try to be a good teammate every day."

Best of luck, and congratulations to Mike Sillinger.

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