EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – Josh Bailey has been called many things during his time with the New York Islanders, but no can say he isn’t humble.
In the middle of a career year, Bailey isn’t harping on his accomplishments. But it has been hard to ignore just how important the Islanders forward has been to the team’s recent resurgence back into the playoff hunt.
From big goals to helping create plays for the players around him, Bailey has been one of the Islanders best forwards all season. Through 51 games Bailey has 11 goals and 27 assists for 38 points.
He sits just three points shy of his career high of 41, which he recorded during the 2014-15 season.
“I don’t think about,” Bailey said about the season he has had so far. “Talk to me when it’s all said and done. I’ll probably have more to say then, but for now my approach isn’t changing. From a couple of years ago to now, it’s one day at time.
“It’s boring to say that I guess, but I feel as a team and personally that’s how you find consistency.”
The word consistency was used a bit on Thursday when discussing Bailey’s game this season. Both Bailey and Islanders head coach Doug Weight have felt that the consistency has been what has elevated Bailey’s play.
Bailey has had seven multi-point games this season and the longest stretch he went without recording a point was three games, which has only occurred twice. Linemate Anders Lee is the only other Islander with seven multi-point games and only John Tavares, also a linemate of Bailey, has more than the two of them with 10 multi-point games.
“His consistency has been awesome,” Weight said. “Certainly playing with Johnny (Tavares) for most of the year has helped him as far as his psyche and being ready. But his practice habits, he’s practicing hard, he is playing hard and even on the bench his leadership he’s more involved with the game in all aspects.
“Obviously there’s confidence and any job…confidence is at the utmost importance. He’s a confident kid right now and he believes in himself, and he’s just been playing really well for us.”
Bailey came up big on Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. First he scored the tying goal with 6:30 left in regulation. Then when the Leafs took the lead back Bailey used had the foresight to send a hard pass to Andrew Ladd for the deflection to tie the game back up once again.
“It’s fun to score. To get a timely goal is something we all like to do,” Bailey said. “I don’t like to talk about it too much. I’d rather just talk about it when the year is done. We’ve done some good things as team and feel good about my game, and just want to keep getting better. I still feel like there’s another stride there that we can hit as a team and individually.”
Drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL Draft, Bailey has often faced criticism for his play considering where he was selected. And being a ninth overall selection comes with a certain amount of expectations, but those were never anything that concerned Bailey.
“I don’t think it ever really bothered me, the expectations or anything like that,” Bailey said. “It is what it is. I just think this season I just changed my attitude, I guess, and obviously the opportunity I think has been the biggest part.”