Rejuvenated Staios recovering

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Steve Staios was not sure about trying out for the New York Islanders this fall.

At this stage in his career, the veteran defenceman was hoping an NHL team would step up and offer a contract without him having to earn a spot on the roster.

Yet when the offer didn’t come, Staios was left with the option of taking one last kick at the can or hanging up the skates up for good.

“I’m glad I did it,” said Staios. “I would have been proud of my career up until this point if I didn’t come back and play this year.

“It was a challenge for me, mentally, through the whole summer, not knowing and still being able to train and stay fit. Then coming in and making the team, it’s very gratifying. Now that I’m playing a lot and am a big part of the team, I’m starting to think maybe I have a few more years left.”

Staios impressed enough at training camp to earn a contract with the Islanders this season.

With a young core, the club was looking for quality veteran leadership. Staios is able to provide that in spades and his 38-year-old body is playing the game as hard as it ever has.

Unfortunately for the former Edmonton Oilers defenceman, a concussion has him currently sidelined and he may not get the chance to go up against his former club.

“It happened in Montreal, Erik Cole was going to the net and I slid across, got the puck and he kind of landed on my head,” Staios said. “I didn’t feel any different, but after the game I didn’t feel great and then the next morning I didn’t feel good.

“We got back to Long Island, we did the concussion test and I passed, and thought I was going to be back playing soon. But you have to follow the protocol. I did sort of have symptoms the next day. They’re taking their time with these things right now, which is the right thing to do.”

Regardless, Staios and his family are enjoying their time in Long Island.

While he may not have been happy about having to try out for a team in the twilight of his career, the fact he was able to earn a spot has rejuvenated him.

“It’s amazing how your mind changes, I’m glad I went through it,” Staios said. “I feel like it was really rewarding to come in and be able to accomplish that.”

Twitter @SUNdvandiest


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