Granted, I haven’t been around hockey too long, but this is my sixth season with the Islanders already. And I can say for certain that Mike Sillinger is one of, if not THE, best guys I’ve worked with so far in my short career.
I stressed the words “worked with” because Silli is the type of guy who will simply work with you. Fans hear stories of how some players don’t get along with their teammates, team employees and/or media – but that’s the exact opposite of Mike Sillinger and what he represents.
For one, he’s never turned down an interview request for me. And for a media relations person like me, he can’t do any wrong in that case! But if something is bothering him or if he sees something is bothering one of his teammates, he’ll simply (and politely) walk over to you to discuss the issues at hand to make the situation better for everyone involved. Team. Staff. Media. Everyone.
And he’s a fun guy to be around, too. He’ll keep the mood light even in tough situations. He’ll always step up to the plate after a bad loss. Sometimes I think that Greg Logan only talks to Silli after a stinker. That’s not the case. But the point is, Silli never backs down when the tough gets going. I’ve never seen him represent the team in anyway other then positive.
Mike is playing in his 1,000th NHL game tonight. It’s only his 92nd as an Islander, but he’s already made a lasting impact on the Island and on me. He’s shown me how true professionals act on and off the ice. And I kind of wish he played all 1,000 games in the Orange and Blue.