Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Break Up Day: Josh Bailey

Josh's season didn't end the way he expected it to. He was put on the clear day roster for Bridgeport so that he could possibily participate in their playoff race. It was something he was looking forward to and something the coachs thought would be good for him. It wasn't meant to be.

On April 8th, Josh Bailey was taken hard into the boards by Ponikarovsky and left the ice with laceractions and a fracture. It will be a three inch souvenier of this season. Josh ended this season having played 73 games due to injury and one or two due to benching. He had 35 points with 16 goals and 19 assistas. He was a +5 with one short handed goal and two game winners. Not bad for a 20-year-old that was the surprise draft choice of 2008.

As Josh sat outside Scott Gordon's office with the bruise under his eye a little more purple and the stitches on his face a little tighter as they scabbed over, he didn't smile. I suppose the end of the season was setting in for him.

I asked him a few questions, as he is always easy to talk to.

I asked what he felt his greatest accomplishment was this season he sqwirmed in his seat and mumbled. "I don't know; the fact that I was playing." That incited a chuckle out of Matt Moulson. "Just to prove myself more this year and what I can do, I guess."

It didn't seem to be an overly confident answer, but he continued. "Last year I coudln't get sent down to the minors so it was kinda like I had to be here. This year, I had the option so I made it so I could stay."

In 2008 - 2009 Josh appeared in 68 Islander games and was a -14 with 7 goals and 18 assists for a total of 25 points. Josh was not only kept out of the minors, he was also kept out of participating in the World Juniors, but that time it wasn't due to injury but design.

He said he would work on getting stronger in the off-season, "...and faster. Those are the keys for me." Josh is an extremely intelligent player who has improved this season. When I first met him I asked why he didn't pursue the college route and he told me this is all he's ever wanted to do.

When I asked him if he would be following the playoffs, it seemed to sting a little. "Last year I was rooting for Pittsburgh because of Billy."

Yes, ex-captain Bill Guerin made an impression on Josh Bailey even in the short time they played together. He's not sure who he will root for this year. I am guessing that in a few years, Bailey won't have to worry about rooting for anyone but the team he's playing on.

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