Sislo called up by New Jersey DevilsNew Jersey (18-18-10) hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins (35-11) Thursday and plays the New York Rangers (24-18-4) Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Both games are scheduled to be televised locally, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on NBCSN and at 2 p.m. Saturday on NBC.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
Former Superior Spartan Mike Sislo was called up by the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. The Devils, who are officially eliminated from advancing to the National Hockey League playoffs, have two games remaining in the regular season.
New Jersey (18-18-10) hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins (35-11) Thursday and plays the New York Rangers (24-18-4) Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Both games are scheduled to be televised locally, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on NBCSN and at 2 p.m. Saturday on NBC.
“It’s really exciting and a great opportunity,” Sislo said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to get to play or not, but if I do, it will be a great chance for me to show the organization that I can play in this league and I belong here.”
Sislo, along with Harri Pesonen and Eric Gelinas, were called up from New Jersey’s minor league team, the Albany Devils. The three did not take part in the team’s game-day skate Tuesday morning and did not suit up the Devils’ 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens later that night.
Sislo did skate with the Devils Wednesday morning and will do so again for Thursday’s pre-game skate.
“Some of the guys that played against Montreal had the day off so practice consisted of a small group of guys,” Sislo said. “Everybody will skate Thursday and then after practice we’ll find out who will be in the lineup for the Pittsburgh game.
“Even if I don’t get to play it’s a great experience just being around NHL players, seeing how they handle themselves on and off the ice.”
Sislo’s parents, Buddy and Karen, are flying to New York Thursday morning and will attend both games.
“Everything happened so quickly,” Karen Sislo said. “He called, told us he got called up and all of a sudden we’re making travel plans to go to New York.
“It’s very exciting and we’re very proud of him.”
The Sislos are staying in a hotel less than a block from the MSG and will take the train to Thursday’s game in New Jersey.
“Lou Lamoriello (New Jersey’s general manager) told him he was getting called up and they would try to work him in the final three games,” Buddy Sislo said. “He didn’t get to play Tuesday night, but we did see him on TV.”
“We’re hoping he gets into at least one game when we’re out there, you really never know if he’s going to get this chance again. If he gets a chance to play, what an experience it would be. And then to get a chance to play Madison Square Garden, that would really be something.”
Mike Sislo scored 13 goals and had 13 assists for 26 points in 61 games this season with the Albany Devils. Among his goals, two were on the power-play and two were short-handed. He also had 46 penalty minutes.
In 59 games with Albany last season, he had nine goals and 18 assists along with 20 penalty minutes. He also played in three games two years ago.
Albany wrapped up its season Saturday with a 2-0 win over Norfolk. The Devils’ David Wohlberg scored on a rebound past Norfolk goalie Frederik Andersen with 2:33 left in regulation to break a 0-0 tie, and Sislo’s empty-netter with 15 seconds left sealed the outcome.
Sislo played collegiately a New Hampshire. He capped his Wildcat career with 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points in 39 games during the 2010-11 season. He led the team in assists and ranked second in goals, points, power-play goals (4) and game-winning goals (4). With those numbers, Sislo ranked No. 22 in the nation in points per game and 10th in assists per game. He led Hockey East in assists and also ranked fifth in the league in points as well as 11th in goals.
In 154 career games, Sislo had 51 goals and 65 assists for 116 points. He is one of just 46 players in New Hampshire men’s hockey history to record more than 50 goals and 50 assists.
Sislo is nearing the end of a two-year contract.
“All of the postseason meetings at Albany went well,” Sislo said. “They said they want me here, and I like the organization and would love to be back. All of that will be figured out this summer.”
After Saturday’s game Sislo will return to Albany for a day or two before returning to Superior. He will remain in Superior for part of the summer before leaving for Connecticut, where he will begin preparing for next season with ex-college teammates.
“It’s been fun so far,” Sislo said. “Hopefully I’ll get into a game, and if I do, we’ll see what happens.”