Another week, another star for the Islanders.
With seven assists in three games last week and riding a league-best nine-game point streak, Josh Bailey was named the NHL’s Second Star, one week after linemate John Tavares was named its First Star.
Bailey was sandwiched between two goalies for honors this week, with Chicago’s Corey Crawford getting the First Star nod and San Jose’s Martin Jones getting the bronze.
After giving new guy Jordan Eberle the first crack at playing alongside Tavares, Doug Weight eventually went back to the line of Tavares, Bailey and Anders Lee. The trio had great success in scoring and driving possession last year, and were a major bright spot in the team’s playoff-free season.
They’ve pretty much picked up right where they left off, while Eberle seems to be gelling with Mathew Barzal. Two of Barzal’s rookie franchise-record five assists in last night’s wild win over Colorado went Eberle.
But back to Bailey for a minute. He had two assists of his own last night, three against Vegas a week ago and two in Thursday’s loss in Washington. He’s the first Islander to post 11 assists in October since Robert Reichel in 1997. No, I didn’t know that off the top of my head. It’s right here.
Here are some other names you might recognize:
Since the start of 2016-17, Josh Bailey has 56 assists. Only 10 players have more — McDavid, Backstrom, Karlsson, P. Kane among them.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) November 3, 2017
When informed in today’s practice that Josh Bailey had been named the NHL’s second star of the week, Josh Bailey gave the Josh Bailey-est quote ever.
"It's nice to get the recognition a little bit, but really you can't get complacent, you just want to keep playing hard and finding ways to win games," Bailey said.
Bailey’s been a divisive figure among Islanders fans, given his draft position (9th overall in 2008), the high expectations placed on him during the team’s rebuild phase, his ever-changing roles on the team and the offensive inconsistency he’s experienced throughout his 38 years as an Islander.
Turns out he’s a pretty good player. Maybe he found a niche playing alongside one of the best players in the league, which helped him gain the confidence and skills to produce steadily from almost anywhere in the line-up. Like Tavares, he’s also a UFA at the end of the season and, as of right now, it seems re-signing him would be in the Islanders’ best interests.
Now, he’s just got to work on his post-game quote skills.