New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey makes an incredibly intelligent play at the blue line leading to the Islanders third goal in Game 2.
Figuring out what is and isn’t offside is a difficult thing to do nowadays. With video review, goals get called back for microscopic infractions. Just about everyone gets it wrong, fans, players, and even coaches. But not New York Islanders Josh Bailey.
In the lead up to Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s goal in Game 2 versus the Flyers, the puck comes to Josh Bailey at the blue line. Unfortunately, Brock Nelson is still in the Flyers zone. If Josh Bailey enters the zone with possession of the puck that’s offside and the play is whistled dead.
And Josh Bailey knows this. So what does he do?
Rather than enter the zone with possession or even wait outside the zone, Josh Bailey pushes the puck into the attacking zone but makes sure he doesn’t touch the puck until Brock Nelson has crossed the blue line.
By leaving the puck untouched in the Flyers zone Bailey creates a delayed offside as Martin Biron stated on Twitter. The play isn’t offside until someone touches the puck as it is clearly stated in the NHL rulebook.
"If, during the course of the delayed off-side, any member of the attacking team touches the puck, attempts to gain possession of a loose puck, forces the defending puck carrier further back into his own zone, or who is about to make physical contact with the defending puck carrier, the Linesman shall stop play for the off-side violation. (Rule 83.3 page 128)"
Even Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, who’s been behind an NHL bench since 1997 thought the play was offside. Even Vigneaults very experienced coaching staff of Michel Therrien (12 years of NHL head coaching experience) and Mike Yeo (eight years of NHL head coaching experience) were adamant it was offside.
Vigneault was furious on the bench when the officials ruled the play was onside. After all the puck had crossed the line before Brock Nelson had cleared the zone. Isn’t that offside? No, because Bailey didn’t touch it.
(To be fair, I also thought that was offside. Until Bailey’s play was pointed out to me after the fact.)
After the game, Vigneault realized that the play was onside and the refs (and Josh Bailey) got it right.
On production alone, Josh Bailey is an invaluable member of the New York Islanders roster. His eleven points in eleven games lead the team. His eleven points have him tied for sixth in points in the playoffs.
But plays like this show you why he’s a valuable member of the team even when he isn’t putting up points.