The Islanders left Boston with a 3-2 win Thursday night, which no doubt felt good after two straight losses. But they finished the game without Josh Bailey, who suffered a broken hand and is out indefinitely.
Arthur Staple, of course, was the first to break the bad news:
Josh Bailey has a broken hand. Out indefinitely. #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 24, 2014
Bailey was injured by hit along boards, not Kelly slash. Seeing a specialist tomorrow. #Isles are hopeful it's shorter than 4 wk recovery.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 24, 2014
UPDATE to the update: Staple amended his story to clarify that the injury happened as a result of a hit along the boards, not a slash by Boston's Chris Kelly as originally thought. Here's a new gif that shows Bailey being hit on the wrist by Kelly's stick near the blueline. Bailey then carries the puck into the Bruins zone, is bumped into the boards by Matt Bartkowski, and skates to the bench with a quick shake of his hand. He wasn't seen for the rest of the game. No penalties were called.
Bruins defenseman and Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara also left the game with an injury. He'll miss 4-6 weeks with a knee issue which will be a big problem for the Bruins.
After seven games this season, it seemed as if Josh Bailey had finally found a role and a groove after years of inconsistency. The 2008 first round pick was a center, then a winger, a core player, a trade piece, a leader and a mystery over his career.
But when paired with Frans Nielsen and newcomer Nikolay Kulemin, Bailey seemed to find a fit in on a furiously forechecking third line with a dangerous scoring touch. Bailey had two goals and two assists this season, and had a hand in the Islanders' first goal of the evening, which was scored by Nielsen.
The depth the Islanders added during the offseason is getting a serious test in just the first month. Bailey is just the latest skater to hit the shelf following Travis Hamonic (upper body), Mikhail Grabovski (on injured reserve with a concussion) and Michael Grabner (sports hernia). Calvin de Haan also missed time with an upper body injury. The game against the Bruins was Lubomir Visnovsky's first this season after missing the previous six games with back spasms. The Islanders are 5-2-0 and still haven't had their full defense on the ice at any point this season.
Grabovski's IR stint was retroactive to Oct. 16th, so he could be reactivated as early as Friday. He would most likely return to his spot on the second line, so Bailey could be replaced by Anders Lee, recalled from Bridgeport on Thursday, Cal Clutterbuck or Cory Conacher, who seems to have a tenuous grip on his spot on the top line. Or who the hell knows any more.
Losing Bailey for a few weeks isn't necessarily good, but the Islanders have options to fill in. The depth continues to be challenged. As long as the Islanders bend where they have to without breaking, they can stay in the thick of the standings until the reinforcements start coming back.