FACEOFF: Mike Sillinger
By Jason Lockhart
(Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) Second in a series of sit-downs with new members of the Islanders at training camp in Yarmouth.
Mike Sillinger was born on June 29, 1971 in Regina, Saskatchewan. He joins his NHL-record 12th team this season as he dawns the Orange and Blue for the 2006-07 season. But Mike let the league know that at the age of 34 he can still produce putting up career NHL numbers with 32 goals and 63 points. Mike lives with wife Karla and their three sons: Owen, Lukas and Cole.
The Sillinger File:
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite non-North American city: Vienna
NHL team growing up: Calgary Flames
Sport (other than hockey)? Golf
Favorite Magazine: People
Favorite arena outside Long Island: The Air Canada Centre
Favorite Board Game: Monopoly
Mets or Yankees? Mets
Favorite Food: Steak and Lobster
Favorite Movie: Meet the Parents
Jets or Giants? Giants
Favorite Car: Corvette
Favorite Brand of Skates: Bauer
Like the color orange? Yes
Favorite Brand of Hockey Stick: Warrior
If you could have dinner with two people who would they be? Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton
Favorite Former Islanders: Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy
Favorite thing about Yarmouth, Nova Scotia: The friendly people
Like the Shootout? Yes
Favorite Superpower: Super-human strength
Profession you'd be in if not in hockey: Golfing
What event in history would you like to have been a part of: The Islanders back in the 1980s when they won the Stanley Cups.
On training camp:
"During training camp I just try to get my timing back. Obviously my conditioning isn't quite there when I first get to training camp, since I've been off the ice for three months. Over the summer I let my body heal, so I do just off-ice conditioning. This first week is all about timing; making crisp passes, doing the drills right and everything at high tempo. You're not used to doing things at high tempo. You need to get your skating legs and the quickness back."
On joining the Islanders:
"I'm looking forward to playing with the Islanders. It's a whole new coaching staff. The training camp so far has been really upbeat and high tempo. The practices have been great and everyone seems to look forward to the season. It's been a long off season and I'm excited to play with my teammates and have a great year."
On playing under Ted Nolan:
"I don't really know Teddy (Nolan). None of us really know Teddy and that's why I'm looking forward to playing here. I've heard nothing but great things about him as a coach. When you're a free agent you want to go to a team that wants you. When I found out Ted was coaching and with a new coaching staff we all start off on the same foot. We're all starting fresh and forget about what happened here in the past and worry about making the playoffs and winning a Stanley Cup."
On the new Islanders:
"It's great having a bunch of new guys here because I'm one of those new guys. I think it's fantastic. We have about eight new faces and it's easier for me because guys aren't just looking for my qualities on the ice, but off the ice as well. As far as a leadership role everyone can contribute and help out."
A self scouting report:
"Fans can expect 110% every night. I try to play a solid two-way game. I'm coming off my best year. When given an opportunity on the power play I can continue score some goals, but I like to focus on the two-way play."
On last year's success:
"My success last year was partly because of the new rules. It wasn't completely the rules. I think it was just more power play time. I've usually been a penalty killer and faceoff guy. I've always had offensive capability. I kind of shied away a bit more from the penalty killing last year."
On starting hockey:
"I was a young kid who loved hockey. From the time I was three or four years old I would have my skates put on for me. I picked it up real easy. I would skate around at that age and stickhandle well. I was fortunate to have natural talent. I wasn't pushed by my parents. It was just something that I loved. We had a rink right outside our house and I'd put on my skates and go out and skate. When I was seven or eight I would play with the ten, 11, 12 year olds. I would come home every day and go skate. To this day I still love it. I'm fortunate to be successful at it."
On the best leader he played with:
"I broke into the Detroit organization. Steve Yzerman wasn't always the biggest guy. He was always the hardest worker and trying to better himself. He would be the first one on the ice and the last one off. You could see the dedication to the game. He wasn't a very vocal guy, but when he would speak people listened. He was one of the best leaders by example. What you put in you get out and that's what Steve Yzerman is all about."