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With hours to spare, Bailey signs

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Josh Bailey’s signing truly came down to the wire. When spoken to last week, the center was both adamant and confident that both sides would come to an agreement, and well, they did it with little time to spare.

“I’m excited, very excited,” Bailey said. “I was happy to get up and come in today. I fully planned on doing that to begin with. I was confident all along that things would get worked out and obviously it came down closer then I think both sides would have liked, but I think we’re both happy and I’m very excited to get to start the season.”

Josh Bailey #12 of the New York Islanders celebrates his second period goal against the Florida Panthers on February 21, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
If Bailey hadn’t signed a new deal by the start of Training Camp at 7 a.m. Friday he would have had to forgo the 2011-12 season, a rule set by Islanders Owner Charles Wang and put into use in 2006 with former Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim.

“I had known (about Wang’s rule) even before going into contract season,” Bailey said. “I know it happened to Bergenheim a couple years back, so I was well aware.”

On Thursday, with the deadline approaching fast and hearing of John Tavares’ extension, Bailey was a bundle of nerves as any player would be if they were on the brink of missing an entire season.

“It was a stressful day there’ no question about that,” Bailey said. “My agent had phoned in and met with Garth and I had some other commitments, had to get some teeth fixed and then I had to go do a video shoot at the rink.”

He continued, “During all that stuff I still had one thing in the back of my mind. We had some good talks. I personally had talked to Garth on the phone a couple times. We came to a resolution and we’re obviously very happy.”

Islanders General Manager Garth Snow is also glad they were able to finalize a deal.

“Since Day one, Josh has been a piece of the core we’re establishing here with the Islanders,” Snow said. “We’re happy to have this deal done and start the season with Josh in the lineup.”

“Since Day one, Josh has been a piece of the core we’re establishing here with the Islanders. We’re happy to have this deal done and start the season with Josh in the lineup.”
- Garth Snow
Long Island is where Bailey got his professional start and the Islanders are the team that believed in him from day one, selecting him ninth overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Thus, the soon to be fourth-year-pro is happy that he’ll be able to stay a part of the young core that will hopefully return to the playoffs this season.

“This is the best feel we’ve had going in to a season,” Bailey said. “We really believe in what we have in that locker room. After camp, we’ll set our goals for the season and try to get off to a good start.”

Like the rest of the team, one of those goals is already prominent.

“Playoffs are in everyone’s mind,” Bailey said. “It’s no secret, anything shy of that would be a disappointment, no question.”
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