In the offseason, Josh Bailey loves to fish.
The Islanders forward gets out on the lake as often as possible near his family’s cottage in Bowmanville, ON, casting lines and reeling in local bass. But this summer, his biggest catch came away from the water.
Bailey got married this summer, tying the knot with his longtime girlfriend Megan, in Toronto in July. The newlywed Baileys took their honeymoon in the Cayman Islands, but after a trip to paradise – where Bailey caught a barracuda – he’s back in the gym, ramping up summer training before September’s camp.
“Nowadays you don’t take much time off,” Bailey said. “Even with everything going on and the wedding, it’s still a priority and it’s nice to get back skating a little more now as things start ramping up for training camp.”
Despite coming off a career season individually (15 goals, 26 assists) and the team’s best regular-season in over 30 years, Bailey is still harboring the disappointment of last year’s playoffs as motivation in the gym.
“It’s never a successful season when you lose, but there are certainly positives to take from it,” he said.
His training has mostly been off-ice to this point, but he is planning on more on-ice sessions. As refreshing as the time on the water is mentally for Bailey, he’s still got hockey on the mind and followed the team’s moves this offseason. Like many Islanders fans, he watched the draft and was impressed at General Manager Garth Snow’s ability to trade into the first round twice to draft Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier, even if it made for a couple of tense moments.
“As soon as you hear a trade has been announced and it’s your team, your heart starts beating a little bit, but I thought it was great” Bailey said. “Any time you can trade up twice in the first round, it’s a big move.”
But as an Islanders player, he was happiest with the moves that weren’t made this summer. Management appears to be sticking with the team that scored the fourth-most goals per game, had the fourth-best shot attempt differential – an indicator of positive possession numbers – and netted 101 points, the most for the team since 1983-84.
“I think all the guys are happy we’re kind of sticking with the same group,” Bailey said. “We wanted that. The guys we had last year, I think we had a good mix. We all get along really well. We all believe we can win together and we look forward to trying to do that this season.”
“It’s that much more exciting to come into camp when you are that familiar with everyone.”
That familiarity just means one less thing to get accustomed to, as the team moves to Barclays Center for the start of the season.
“Anyone that’s been there knows what a beautiful facility it is,” he said. “I’m sure it won’t take long to get accustomed to the new rink. The travel on game days will be a little different, but I’m sure it’s nothing we can’t handle.”
As Bailey ramps up his training, he’ll continue to enjoy his favorite hobby with his new wife, who caught her own barracuda in the Caymans. Bailey said he recently caught a four-pound bass, but with training camp approaching, he’ll go from tossing lines to pushing weights.