Throughout my three decades of following this team, fans have always seem to find guys to hate, no matter what their performance was:
Sean Bates (minus penalty shot goal)
The list can go on and on.
The one for the last couple of seasons that really comes to the top of the list, is on Josh Bailey.
Now – for this piece, I will say that I have zero ill will for this player; I am sure that he will feel that if you asked him, he would hope that his numbers and stats would be better. We can debate that until the cows come home.
I will say this, from what I see in practices and games, I really feel that Josh is hard-working player. I really feel that he tries to leave everything on the ice.
I now know – that at least dozens of people are going to wish me bodily harm. Listen – everyone is entitled to opinions, as I do mine; and this forum is where I can do just that. I welcome you to comment as you wish. But hear me out.
When Josh was drafted, immediate disgust was coming…
“Why did Garth drop two positions to get this kid?”
“He is not deserving to be picked this high!”
As we all know – Garth chooses character over talent in some cases, because he feels that character will make your talent improve. Ask Nikita Filitov how he is doing in the NHL? I know that any serious fan was drooling about seeing this young man enter the NHL. And look how fast he was GONE! That is why you are not a GM.
I feel Bailey is a complimentary player, not a flashy one. Should Garth have gone for something more? Perhaps, but hey, he wanted him, and he got him.
So what happens is that fans look at a player with differently tinted glasses as average Joe player. If you do not like him, every bad play is twice or thrice as much worse as it should be. Every move is critiqued.
I guarantee you that you do not look at any other player as hard as you do him. There are so many players that get ‘passes’ at their negative plays, or blunders, but because you thought that Bailey would be better than he is – he gets the vitriol.
Derek King was a great example of this. In the early 90’s – King was a 20-30 goal scorer, with a nice touch for the net. However, every time King missed an assignment, flubbed a pass, did not get the shot off on time, fans were planning a burial at the stake.
Remember – goals are scored at an average of 9-10%. Passes are only 60-70% favorable. Players will make mistakes but as fans – we always have a ‘goat’ to hang their disappointment and anger with, and for this team, number 27 (with a close second to number 37) takes the cake.
My wife, the current Islander Booster Club President, has liked Josh from day 1. She is not a ‘groupie’, but she was one of the first people to meet him after he was drafted. Not only was he extremely nice, but he actually was asking for people’s names, engaging in conversation and typically showed all that day what kind of young man he was. She immediately took a liking and has always kept an eye on his play. Although she will admit that his play at times has been a little difficult to watch, she will see good things that he does, and her immediate comment to that would be (and I am paraphrasing):
The haters will not comment on the good things he does!
As it was with King; as it was with Makela; as it is with Bailey… You will not get the haters to come over to the good side. As I have told my wife, even if Josh had a remarkable season (30 goals, 60points), the folks that don’t like will still find things to mock him on. It is the same as the coach (and that story will be on another day).
Again – this is not to defend him, but just to merely state what has happened to him. Will he be available in this series? Who knows.
Will he make an impact? 99% of the people will probably doubt it.
However, he has been loyal to this team, and in this author’s opinion, has given everything he has. Whether you like it or not – I feel that Josh Bailey has been extremely loyal to the crest, and will do anything he can in order to see success for the Islander organization. I am always trying to stay to the positive, and I know if given the chance – he may rise to the occasion.
For all Islander fans – whether you like number 12 or not – you have to hope for success.
Tomorrow – GAME2. Let’s Get it done!