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sleep 511:25 am, NVMC - The good news for Mike Sillinger is his hockey career is not over. Even at age 37, he has made enough strides in his rehabilitation after major hip surgery to feel confident he has plenty more games to play in the NHL.


But reports of Sillinger's rise are exaggerated. There is little chance the veteran center will be back in the lineup during the month of November.


I stumbled upon this fact when I approached Sillinger with a theory. Considering the serious nature of his injury and the length of time he's been out of the lineup, would the man who hasn't played in the minor leagues in 15 years ever consider a conditioning stint in Bridgeport?


"To be honest," Sillinger said, "we're not at the point where that's even worth discussing."


So there you have it. Although he has practiced regularly with the Islanders over the last week, Sillinger is not close to a return to the lineup. Factor in the need to both learn and keep up with the team's forecheck system and this could still be a while.


Sillinger had microfracture hip surgery at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado in February. For most people, the recovery time could last as long as a full year. In the case of a world-class athlete like Sillinger, perhaps eight or nine months. Team doctors, whom Sillinger visits weekly to update his progress, feel he is very much on schedule.


"The one thing that's guaranteed is that I will not come back until I'm 100% free of pain and 100% ready to help the Islanders," said Sillinger. "It hasn't been fun, not being part of the games. But I've been able to keep a positive frame of mind and hopefully be a good influence on the team, partly because there isn't a question of whether I'm coming back. I will be a contributor to our team again." 


ETC: Tim Jackman was recalled today from Bridgeport on an emergency basis. Scott Gordon said at today's morning skate that the team, when it has the opportunity, wants to reward the players down on the farm that work hard to learn the system and produce. Jackman has 6 goals in 12 games with the Sound Tigers...Joey MacDonald gets his fourth straight start in goal.


Sidney Crosby is on the trip for the Penguins after missing practice yesterday with an undisclosed hip injury. The team and Crosby likely won't decide if he's good to go until this afternoon.


Congrats to good guy Mark Parrish for his hat trickin' return last night. Who knows if Parrish will get another three goals between now and Christmas, but that's not the point. The NHL is full of rocket scientists traveling the globe, analyzing every aspect of a player's game and then often giving obscene stacks of cash to guys that haven't done diddly. Yet here was Mark Parrish - great hands, good wheels, low-maintenance attitude and with a track record - and he couldn't get an offer from anyone. Should the Islanders need him at an appropriate time after they re-tool, don't think Mark won't forget what they did for him.


Attention, Point Blank readers: Please give us a call tonight when Don La Greca and I co-host "NY Hockey This Week" on 1050 ESPN Radio from 5:30 - 6:30 pm. If you want your Islanders to have a presence on sports-talk radio, here's your chance to make it happen.


With our late return from the Manhattan studio, tonight's game coverage will not be the same usual lollapalooza recap. But we will strive to bring something decent to the table.



Game Predix? Questions for the ESPN Radio Show? Comments.

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