NASHVILLE -- It's about as much rust as there can possibly be on something that isn't sitting at the bottom of the ocean with a hole in its side.
Steve Sullivan missed almost two full seasons - 142 games in total - with a back injury and subsequent surgery. Yet he has 16 points in 23 games and seems to be picking up speed by the day.
"I'm just trying to make progress every single night," said Sullivan, who missed the last 20 games of the 2006-07 season, all of the 07-08 season and the first 40 games of this year.
"I haven't had any setbacks, it's feeling good on a daily basis and the game is slowly coming back to me. When you sit out for so long the game moves at a little quicker pace than you're used to ... but every game I'm seeing some improvement in my game and the comfort level goes up every time I step on the ice.
"I still don't know if I'll ever get back to the player I was before, I'm hoping so."
He says his top speed is not there and his first couple of strides aren't as explosive, but you'd never know it from watching him. He has 11 points in his last seven games and scored twice in the third period last night.
"We're offensively challenged for the most part," said Preds coach Barry Trotz. "Just getting him back has been wonderful. He was very determined to come back and he's starting to play like the Steve Sullivan that we know. When he's back to form he's a dangerous player in this league."