Some thoughts from last night’s game – as I sit at MacArthur Airport awaiting for my flight to sunny Florida.
- Solid effort ALL around. Rollie was smart in his positioning and make the key saves when needed. The defense was strong, and the Wiz provided the positive return on the power play.
- Josh Bailey is really emerging a future force to be recokend with
- Milan Jurcina and Michael Grabner notched their first goals as Islanders
- A positive return of JT to the lineup. Although the net was empty – getting him on the board was key
I can just remember a few years back when an overwhelming majority of folks that were at the draft party in 2008 were so upset at Garth when he moved down twice to select Josh Bailey at number 9. There was enough resentment about not getting heralded Russian Nikita Filatov to nearly stage a Lenin like coup of the building. Snow, however, stook to his guns, and felt that Josh was a player of good skills and excellent character. We would all be happy years down the road with his selection.
I then remember a few weeks later, just after Ted Nolan was let go. My wife Claire, the President of the Booster Club at the time, went down to Ice Works at the mini-camp, just to see the mood of the building. Claire went right up to Josh and intriduced herself to him. She told him that she had heard a lot of nice things about him. Most hockey players would be cordial and say “thanks” or , “I appreciate it”, and walk away. In this case, Josh not only continued the conversation, but asked for Claire’s name, and was so nice. It was just that quality character that immediately make Claire take a liking to the young man from outside Toronto. How could you not?
Last year, when he came to a Booster Club meeting, Claire noticed that Josh was constantly moving his neck in a method that would think that he was stiff. So leave it to my very helpful wife to give Josh a neck rub (which he did remember when we talked to him about it at the autograph signing at Adventureland). You can just see how good of a kid he is.
And in the second half of last season, the skills started coming more and more to the surface.
This season – it is an explosion of confidence and another year of maturity that is making Josh a name to be known. Last night’s goal is an example of it. When he got the cross ice pass, he waited and waited, and then drilled the pick to the right corner. It is a goal scorer’s goal – worthy of highlight reels (and why did NHL network not show it in their nightly highlight list is beyond me).
Is this a fluke. I just think it is the forward thinking of Snow, and the scouting staff of former Assistant GM Ryan Jankowski that is responsible for Josh being an Islander. I wonder how many of those fans that were screaming that we did not get Filatov, are wearing #12 jerseys now?
Tomorrow night – Toronto – off to their best start in decades, with a new vigor and swagger that will give the Islanders a lot of decisions. Then Thursday in Tampa – where I will be in a suite watching the game. The Dads are on the trip, and that should be fun.
Have a great Sunday folks, and talk to you next from Tampa(Orlando).