You all likely know where I stand generally when it comes to Josh Bailey. I've long been a fan of the New York Islanders forward. He's been an underrated player on this squad for the better part of five years now.
But that doesn't mean I can't be critical when Bailey deserves it. And after Tuesday's performance against the Colorado Avalanche, Bailey deserves it. Because the veteran forward had a...rough game.
New York Islanders can't but should sit Josh Bailey
Bailey's stat line at the end of the game was: 1A (secondary), 1SOG, 1 takeaway, with 15 minutes flat of ice time (1:49 of that ice time was on the PP). That assist was added later in the game after it seemed that Oliver Wahlstrom didn't touch the puck as it bounced off the half-wall before Parise laid it on to Pulock for the goal.
(I still contend that Wahlstrom got a piece of it and that the assist should be his, but the NHL clearly disagrees with me.)
But Bailey's stat line isn't the reason for the criticism. It's how Bailey's ended the night. With the score at 4-3 for the Avs, the Islanders pulled Ilya Sorokin for the extra skater; Josh Bailey was the extra player to jump over the boards.
With the Islanders desperate for an equalizer, Bailey found himself with the game on his stick and the Avalanche goalie down (but not quite out) Bailey opts to make one final pass rather than attempt a shot:
Why he didn't even try to get the puck on the net is maddening. We all understand that Bailey isn't a shoot-first player but you can't ask for a better opportunity to level the game.
Compiling things for Bailey is a failed neutral zone pass a little while later that directly leads to the empty net goal that puts the game to bed with a 5-3 scoreline.
It's the type of performance that would and should result in a game up in the press box. But with injuries on the squad (Mathew Barzal), there's no way that Bailey will sit. Because the player that could step in is Matt Martin. With Johnston in the lineup, there's no way Trotz plays both unless he has to.
Josh Bailey will play against Vancouver on Thursday on Long Island, but he should be sitting after his last outing.