Every time I see Josh Bailey display his natural offensive abilities while scoring a goal, I'm encouraged that he will reach his full potential as an offensive threat in the NHL. His power play goal in the third period of last night's win over the Lightning is certainly a prime example of the full stable of talents that Bailey can bring to the Islanders' offense.
On the goal, which you can watch above, Bailey used speed, instincts, and hands to get behind the Lightning penalty kill, receive a fine pass from Blake Comeau, and beat Mike McKenna from in close.
It is this type of effort that makes me hope that Bailey is not too pre-programmed to always think pass first.
Sure, playmaker is the role he has grown up with and it is the role he is expected to fill for the Islanders. But we have seen convincing glimpses of what Bailey can do with the puck on his own stick.
So does Bailey have to be aware of his mindset on the ice so that he doesn't always defer to his playmaking abilities when a goalscoring opportunity arises? Here's what he told me:
"I'm always going to think that I'm more of a playmaker than a goalscorer. Since I was little I've always been like that, so I always think pass before I shoot. I'm just trying to open my eyes a little more, to shoot a little more. It'll open passes up when I do that. I think that's something I've been working on this year."
At this stage of his career, I'm glad that he's conscious of defaulting to a single role when he's capable of developing into so much more. That is to say (and forgive the ridiculously lofty comparisons), I hope he's thinking more Bryan Trottier or Steve Yzerman than Adam Oates.
Of course, if he achieves even two-thirds of any of their career point totals, he'll have had a fantastic career. But you get the point. Bailey is too young to settle for being a 15-20 goal guy when the sky is still the limit.
By the way, I'm fairly convinced that by this time next season no one will be wondering if Bailey would have been better served by playing an extra year in juniors in 2008-09. He is well positioned for an Okposo-like progression.
In other news, Yann Danis doesn't know what the coaching staff has in store for him and Joey MacDonald for the final week of the season, nor does he think knowing necessarily helps him.
"I don't know if they have planned it out or not. They haven't told us, so I don't know. You just have to stay ready, no matter what happens."
Danis also told reporters that he hates losing and hates not playing at his best. He said it was huge for him to have the opportunity to bounce back and get in a rhythm again. Danis seems to have just the right balance of fire and cool these days.
Finally, I have been referring to Joel Rechlicz as "Wrecker" for some time now. I now have unmitigated reason to believe that the proper nickname is "Recker." So from here on, we drop the W.
(This article was originally published at http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=20468.)