Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Josh Bailey will return to the Islanders lineup Monday night and take part in his first game since December 28.
The Islander forward has been suffering from a shoulder injury since he went into the board hard during a game against the New Jersey Devils. Bailey had told reporters on Thursday that he was feeling fine, but since the team was winning he did not have to rush back from the injury.
Bailey said Monday morning that he benefited a lot from not having return from the injury so quickly.
“I think noticeably from each day I was feeling that much better,” he said. “Today from yesterday from the day before. It seemed like each day I was improving a lot. I think today I feel ready to go and happy to be back.”
Prior to the injury, Bailey had registered a point in the previous three contests and his line looked like they were turning a corner. Bailey registered a point for the first time in 12 games when he assisted on Frans Nielsen’s second period goal back on December 20. He has not scored a goal since October 25 against the Penguins.
Now that Bailey is back, Islander Coach Jack Capuano is hoping to see more out of his player.
“I need to see the work ethic and the grit and the determination in his game,” Capuano said following the team’s morning skate. “I need to see a guy that’s going to get more pucks to the net. He’s a minute cruncher for us, he plays minutes. We expect all our guys to play well defensively away from the puck, but he’s gotta be a guy who gets some pucks to the net. There’s no question he’s gone games where he’s got no shots and he’s got to get back to doing that.”
Who Bailey will be playing along side when the Islanders and Dallas Stars face-off is undetermined, but Bailey is just happy to be in the lineup.
“I just want to come back in and have a good game,” he said.