Islanders’ Josh Bailey is big despite a reduced role

It would be easy for Josh Bailey to complain.

The 33-year-old, just a handful of games into the season, was a healthy scratch – his 1,000th from a home date against Rangers. moved the game to a road game.

His role has been largely diminished, with Bailey sometimes finding himself on the fourth line.

In the first period on Tuesday, he played just 0:44 at even strength.

Whether those decisions are justified or not, Bailey is in a position to throw a tantrum.

He is third in franchise history in games played, first five assists, first 15 goals.

His number may eventually be retired.

Instead, he was here in the locker room Tuesday after scoring the game-winning goal and assist in the Islanders’ biggest win of the season, 3-2, over the Sabres, joking that he couldn’t hear the fans singing. his goal song so loud “Colitik”.

Josh Bailey scores as the Islanders beat the Sabers 3-2.Getty Images

There’s a reason Bailey wears an “A” on his uniform and is well-liked in the locker room. That’s why.

“Yeah, it’s different,” he admitted of his role. “I think at the same time you’re trying to stay focused and in the game and ready for when your number is called. That’s really been my mindset. When your number is called, make sure you are ready and give it my best”.

That’s exactly what Bailey did Tuesday, pouncing on a loose puck 1:51 into the third to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.

After the Sabers tied it, he blindly shot a puck from the point, hoping it would hit something.

Hudson got off Fasching’s knee and entered for a 3-2 lead, the initial call upheld after a review.

“I didn’t aim for anything,” Bailey said. “Just a quick shot from the point, you’re trying to get it on net. You also expect good rebounds.’

This performance is unlikely to change his role. And Bailey hardly cares.

“You can’t say enough about him,” coach Lane Lambert said. “And it’s just his nature. It’s his personality and it’s his character. He is a quality character who comes to work no matter what.

“And sometimes it may not be exactly what he’s looking for or what he wants, but in the end, he goes out and does his job. In the end, I have full respect for him and I’m glad that he was awarded.”

Although Jean-Gabriel Pageau was a participant in practice on Monday, he did not play on Tuesday, as Otto Koivula continued to center the fourth line.

Lambert described Pageau as day-to-day and did not say whether he would travel to Pittsburgh for Thursday’s game.

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