ETC. comes first today: Nate Thompson and Andy Sutton are likely out with the flu. Recalled from Bridgeport are forward Mitch Fritz and – on emergency recall – defenseman Joe Callahan. Okay, that’s it for the pre-game report. Now on to the latest agenda…
For Josh Bailey to have the experience of playing on one of the top two lines for Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championships, he would have to report when selection camp opens on Thursday. Since Bailey is a lock for the team, the Islanders would be without the services of their 2008 first round pick from Dec. 11 to Jan. 5 – a span of 13 games.
Our take: if the Islanders love Bailey, they should set him free.
Here are the level-headed cases for and against sending Bailey to the WJC. We will not let our personal view get in the way.
- Bailey could get seriously injured at the WJC. He could get seriously injured in the NHL.
- He would miss out on three important weeks of the forecheck, the one the Islanders have played to near-perfection in maybe four of 27 games so far.
- His game might get screwed up playing in those bigger international rinks. (Nevermind, the games will be played on the NHL surface of the Ottawa Senators!)
- The experience of playing big minutes in the pressure-packed atmosphere of a World Junior Championships on home soil is something the next 13 games of the Islanders (10-15-2) could never match.
- Kyle Okposo, his right wing of the present and future, will be sidelined with a wrist injury for the same time period, so it’s not like Bailey is missing out on quality KO time.
- Here’s a three-year list of relevant Canadian forwards who won gold medals and obtained invaluable experience at the WJCs:
2007: Jonathan Toews, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Darren Helm
2006: Toews, Blake Comeau
2005: Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter – watch them tonight – and Scott’s boy Patrice Bergeron
- In Ben Walter, the Islanders have a playmaking center prospect they can easily slide into Bailey’s place in the lineup. Since Walter is well-schooled in The Ways of Go-Go from their time together in Providence, he should do well.
- If it’s deemed Walter is not ready, check out this quote from Gordon to Logie about the rehabbing Mike Comrie in today’s (The Hockey) Newsday: “If there’s a situation where we needed a player toward the end of the week, then I’d think about bringing him in.”
Holy crap! You think Go-Go was foreshadowing a Bailey-to-Team Canada decision? If Bailey gets his first NHL goal tonight in Philadelphia, there’s no better way to send him off.
What do you think? Are you okay with losing Josh Bailey for 13 games? Do you think the Islanders should let him play for Team Canada? Vote in Comments.