Lilja: 'I want to finish the year off here'

2013-01-22T20:12:00Z Lilja: 'I want to finish the year off here'By Diana C. Nearhos Glens Falls Post-Star
January 22, 2013 8:12 pm  • 

When Andreas Lilja adressed rumors that he was thinking of heading back to his native Sweden after his first game with the Phantoms Friday night, he seemed to be leaving himself an opening.

He said he didn't know what to say to the question of if he was considering a trip home.

Tuesday, he made things more clear.

"A lot of teams are calling me from back home," he said. "They want me to come back home, but I don't think I'm ready to take that jump. I still want to play in the NHL and either way I want to finish the year off here, I think."

During the lockout, Lilja spent a couple of days in December skating with the Phantoms while recovering from hip surgery. At that time, Lilja said he didn't think he'd consider going to Europe if the lockout continued, citing his family. He repeated that on Tuesday.

"I've got kids who go to school, so I gotta let them have their time," said Lilja, whose family lives in the Philadelphia area. "I can't just pick up and go to Sweden.

"This works out pretty good now. Next week is the All-Star break, so I get to go home and I get to spend four or five days at home, which is great. Obviously when you're away you miss your kids and you miss your wife. It's a good thing. And then whatever happens after that we'll just have to deal with it."

Lilja, who hadn't played a game in over eight months, also said he had to shake some rust off in his first three-in-three but felt better as the weekend went on and felt best on Sunday. The defenseman had two assists on the weekend.

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