The parlor game among Islanders fans is guessing what sticking points are keeping Josh Bailey's signature from a contract. As an RFA coming off his entry level contract without reaching any sort of "top 10 pick!" stardom, he doesn't have much leverage, save for any perceived embarrassment the franchise might have if:
1) They declined to sign him per their "sign by training camp or see you next year" rule (the Bergenheim Rule), or
2) They changed or waived that internal rule because Bailey and/or his agent called their bluff.
Bailey's not a player you'd want to lose for a year just to prove a policy point. But he's also not accomplished enough that you'd want to bend too far in negotiations during the very free agency year when he has the least leverage. They'll probably resolve it; it's just that negotiations are negotiations -- sometimes they go all the way to the end simply because they can. Certainly Bailey has publicly said all the right things, skating with teammates yesterday and providing the standard "I want to be here" quotes for Newsday and the official team site.
So Bailey is here, skating with so many present and past Islanders. There have been tons of micro-updates over Twitter from these skates, and @nyislanders is probably your most prolific source, with @katiestrangnyi for the reporter's side. Some excerpts:
- Michael Grabner admires his new sticks. Say, that's not how you spell "GRABNER"...
- Here is the Islanders training camp blog. Rookies got their photos yesterday and are on the ice today.
- Here is a stream of photos on Flickr of them painting the 40th Anniversary logo at center ice.
- Here's the finished version.
- And here's a general description of various season ticket package options.
The Islanders officially signed to training camp tryout contracts Brett Gallant, Benn Olson and Art Bidlevskii -- three guys who finished last year on trials with the Sound Tigers. (If you hadn't heard, last week Michael Fornabaio passed along word that Sound Tigers captain Mark Wotton has reportedly retired.)
And according to that Islanders Twitter feed, here are the lines and pairings from the first day of rookie camp:
Rakhshani, Ullstrom, DiBenedetto
Niederreiter, Strome, McNeely
Kabanov, Cizikas, Persson
Gallant, Romano, Theoret
Katic, de Haan
Your three-headed goalie monster is of course Kevin Poulin (officially off IR now), Mikko Koskinen and Anders Nilsson, with Sudsie and Dunham providing the tutleage in an 11 a.m. session that began about 50 minutes before the skaters were to take the ice.
Meanwhile, here's THN's video preview of the Islanders. (I haven't watched it. I prefer my THN content about two to three weeks late.)
Hockey Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning (Links)
Here's Bourne -- who's switching (or adding?) from Yahoo! to a Canadian venue -- on player weight.
Alex Ovechkin got no time for the critiques from his former teammates (all of whom respected him, but not Alex Semin, it seems).
More on Lokomotiv: They won't play this season after all. | Here are some gut-wrenching reactions from NHLers | More of that with Pavel Datsyuk | The two survivors still in "grave condition." You know, I don't dream often -- or don't remember my dreams often -- but the last few days I've found myself trying to undo the plane crash in my head or in my sleep. As if I can put the plane back on the ground and never let it take off. Still can't believe all of those guys are gone. Just processing life's strange twists, I'm sure.
Interesting article with ex-NHLer Steve Konawalchuk on fighting, and what he sees as a junior coach:
"There's still a lot more of the fighting mentality here than in the NHL," he said. "To me fighting is just one of maybe 10 aspects that make up a tough hockey player. "My message to these kids is that there's a time and a place for fighting. It's part of the game, but there's a lot more to being tough than just fighting.
A big, big update if accurate: Travis Zajac will actually be out 4-6 months?
Finally, got 20 minutes? This quiz is a fun and tough ones: Naming the top NHL scorers per letter for every decade. Q is funny. Don't worry about X.