When the NHL announced this year’s all-stars on Tuesday afternoon, some Islander fans may have been shocked, befuddled, angered or even happy about the player that will accompany John Tavares to Tampa Bay at the end of the month.
But, it’s hard for anyone to argue that Josh Bailey hasn’t earned his selection for the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. In fact, the honor seems to befit the year that the 28-year-old forward has had in terms of on-ice play and the deserved recognition for it during his 10th NHL season.
Much of those 10 years has been spent taking the brunt of Islander fans’ ire – some of it deserved, some of it not. Where the Islanders selected Bailey in 2008 and how long it had taken him to develop has remained with fans through his career as an Islander, leading some to ignore the positives that Bailey has brought.
This year, it’s been hard to ignore those positives though as Bailey has found himself in the top 10 in the league in points (50) and tied for second in the NHL in assists (38). Both numbers also have him leading the Islanders in assists and second on the team in points.
The 2017-18 campaign has been a continuation of Where Bailey had left off last season when he had 13 goals and 43 assists for 56 points, all of which was a career best at the time. A sign that all the positive things that Bailey’s teammates had seen in him in previous years, and portrayed to the media, were finally being shown in a tangible way.
Tavares had mentioned in previous years about Bailey’s ability to see the ice and make smart plays. To put that in perspective, those types of comments are something Tavares had said dating back to the Coliseum days when Jack Capuano put the two on the same line.
Now it’s easy to see what the Islanders’ captain had been talking about all along.
Bailey missed most of the Islanders 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh and was kept out of Sunday’s shootout win over the New Jersey Devils due to a lower-body injury, but should be able to participate in the All-Star Game at the end of the month.
It has taken 10 years for Bailey to become an all-star and he has had his fair share of ups and downs along the way. Still, when it comes to players in the Islanders’ dressing room there may be no one as fitting as Bailey to represent the Islanders this season.
John Tavares Makes Fifth Trip to All-Star Game
John Tavares was also selected for this year’s NHL All-Star Game. The selection came as no surprise with the Islanders’ captain in the middle of another strong season.
Tavares leads the Islanders in points (51) and is second on the team in goals (22) and assists (29). The trip is Tavares’ fifth of his career.