Currently the organization’s greatest players hold all of the significant awards. Some of those awards are totally made up. For example, Bobby Nystrom was known as Mr. Islander. Nystrom never really gabbed individual awards, but his tenacity made him the embodiment of what it means to be an Islander. The team still names an annual Mr. Islander as a legacy.
There is one player that should never be Mr. Islander, because it would mean that Mr. Islander is a cuckold. That player is Josh Bailey.
This brief piece will point out two things: one, Josh Bailey has never been and will never be among this organizations significant impact making players. And two, Bailey has a very strong chance of ending his Islander career with the most games played ever by an Islander, which is an insult to players who actually accomplished things.
First off, let me quote liberally from a piece I wrote entitled “Attendance Award.” Since I wrote it, I can steal the fuck out of it.
“I would argue that the most offensive stats Bailey has put up are “games played” and “points per game without playing next to John Tavares” because those stats are truly offensive.
We also have to address the elephant in the room. Hi Garth! And thanks to Garth, there’s this simple fact: if Josh Bailey plays out his present six year deal with the Islanders, he will have spent 16 years doing nothing with the same franchise. Why is that a big deal?
Understand that 6 years of a healthy Josh Bailey- healthy meaning 75 games a year- would place Bailey’s career total of games played at 1165. This number of games played would make Josh Bailey the all time leader in games played for the New York Islanders, surpassing all of the Islander Hall of Famers and legends.
You know, maybe with 1165 games, Bailey will close in on the top 12 in points.
Can you imagine a player with as many games played with so few accomplishments? And I’m sure that #IslesRealists all recognize that the Bailey extension was the ultimate “Fuck you” to the franchise by Garth Snow, who is looking to get his fat ass attached to something in the records book somehow without doing much, as per usual.
But the point of this is not meant to bash Josh Bailey. Well, actually, it is, but even I have to pay respects to the next potential Mr. Islander. But how?
Bailey is accomplished neither offensively or defensively. He has a highlight reel that can play on Snapchat. In looking at some way to honor Bailey for a career full of nothing special, we have to dig deep into the well of meaningless awards. And what award is the most meaningless? A service award.
“5 Years on the Job!” What a shitty award. That’s no accomplishment. It means you knew enough to show up to work to grab 130 paychecks. “Perfect Attendance.” Great! You did the most basic element of what you were supposed to do, and perfectly! Sadly this is all Bailey has given us to work with. So we’re going to do that.
Introducing the first ever New York Islanders Attendance Award. And the initial recipient? Josh Bailey. In over 700 games, Bailey has failed to accomplish anything tangible in the form of successful, team lifting, awe inspiring results. Or even just scoring 20 goals in a season.
What he has done, however, is show up to work. So much so that he’s among the pantheon of Islander greats. For just showing up.
Sure, he hasn’t grabbed assists like the top 10 draft pick playmaker that he was promised to be. And no, he hasn’t scored goals on a clip equal to legendary 200 goal scorer Bob Bourne. His total points are also nothing to marvel over despite being in the league for a decade. And I can assure you he’s not leading the franchise in hat tricks. It took him a decade just to break into that club, the fucking zilch.
No, today we honor Josh with the only thing no one can take away from him: he knows where the arena is.
So kudos to Josh Bailey for finally being recognized both for his lack of greatness, but also his contractual perseverance to be listed sans accomplishments among the greats. Take a victory lap Josh. You’ve earned it. And see you at the rink for the next game…continuing your lifelong quest at being statistically insignificant.”
So there’s the first part of my thesis. Bailey is not an impact Islander. Part of that isn’t his fault. He was a first pick brought into a rebuild. And part of his lack of impact is his fault. As a rebuilding piece, there was probably better available.
Understand that Bailey will be in the top ten all time in Islander scoring if he lives out this contract. He’s about 100 points off from 10th place, and he has five plus years to do it. Even at non-coat tail riding pace, Bailey was good for 160 points in 5 years. Now that he’s got scorers who do the work for him, Bailey will probably end up passing Snake Tavares as a – GAG – top 5 scoring Islander of all time. He’s 202 points away from that, so if he finishes this deal the New York Islanders can proudly point to him and say “This is the next face we’d put on our Mount Rushmore, after Bossy, Trottier, Potvin, and Gillies. And a year or so like last year? He’d pass Gillies, too.
Now, the second part of my premise- why is this bad? Because what organization would want a player so unaccomplished to go down as anything other than what he is? A defensive liability. A coat tail rider. A guy that never achieved 20 goals. A guy with one playoff series win- of which he hardly contributed- in 11 seasons. This frankly is not what you want as the upper echelon of franchise history. This is the type of winning production that causes teams to relocate. Which has already happened in Bailey’s tenure. And may do so a second time.
This is bad because this is a team that had a drafted core that won a series of Stanley Cups. When Garth Snow had the same opportunity with 5 top 5 picks – including a 1st overall- who was the first building block? Bailey. And all we have to show for that Snow rebuild? Bailey.
Look at a team like St. Louis. The Blues have never won the Stanley Cup. That’s a franchise where Bailey belongs. Look at a team like Arizona. The Coyotes have never won a cup. There’s where a player like Bailey belongs. The Florida Panthers come to mind as a good Bailey spot. Instead we are saddled with a nobody that’s won nothing until his contract runs out because no one is trading for his scary talent. All we have to do is sit back and watch his assault on the Islanders record books slowly unfold. An assault as enjoyable like sexual assault.
As we wrap up, I want to leave you with this final thought. If you had to pick any 70 players in the NHL to form a travel team to bring hockey to other parts of the world and show them the best players in the game, does Bailey make that list? No, no he doesn’t. Does Bailey make a list of personal award winners? Not today. Championships? No. So understand that this inconsequential nobody is at some point going to be enshrined in team history as the one player that represented us the most. Not the best, just the most. He showed up.
Is that all we want from our team? For ourselves? Is that in any way satisfying?