New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey thoroughly enjoyed his experience in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium, even though his team came up a goal short in a 2-1 loss to their arch rival, the New York Rangers, at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. In the final edition of the player blog he is doing for NHL.com, Bailey talks about his experiences, the thrill of stepping onto the ice at Yankee Stadium and the disappointment of going home without a victory.
Obviously it was a disappointment with the way the game ended. I thought we played pretty well, but we just weren’t able to generate enough goals. We would have liked to get the win, but the more we look back on it, the more it will be something we’ll never forget.
It was awesome getting to dress in the Yankees’ locker room. We were all looking around, trying to figure out whose locker we had – I didn’t actually find out whose locker I was using, but we found out where a couple of those guys sit. It was definitely cool to be able to experience Yankee Stadium, to get to go out on the field and take the ice for a game out there.
But after the first couple of shifts, it settled down and was like a regular hockey game. Once you start playing, you kind of forget everything around you; you’re more focused on the game and the task at hand. But once in a while, you definitely take a peek around and soak it in.
It was cold out there, but I don’t think it really bothered anyone. I know it didn’t bother me. When you’re out there, you’re fine and then on the benches they had heaters to keep you warm. Your butt almost gets too warm; sometimes you had to shift around and find a cooler spot.
Our team played well in the second period. We were able to generate a goal by Brock Nelson late in the period, and we had a lot of chances. We just weren’t able to find the back of the net. That’s the way it goes some times; if a few bounces went the right way, we could have had a few more. Henrik Lundqvist, their goalie, played a good game as well. He’s a pretty good goaltender.
It was disappointing that they were able to score right after Brock gave us the lead. The one they got was kind of a junky goal, but we figured that’s how the goals were going to be tonight; Nelson’s goal was the exception; nice passing and a nice finish. Their two goals were an example of how we thought the goals were going to be scored, by just putting the puck to the net and getting rebounds. That tying goal let a little of the air out of our tires. It would have been nice to go off the ice for the break with the lead.
We got a good game from our goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov. Nabby looked really good for someone who hadn’t played for three weeks. We’re spoiled to have him back there. He’s very calming influence on us, and we have a lot of faith in him. He’s always calm; that’s his demeanor. Some goalies are different, they all have their own style. His is a very calm demeanor back there.
They came out with a pretty good push in the third period. They played well, but I thought we still did a pretty good job. It was kind of back and forth, but they were able to generate a lot more scoring chances early on in the third period. Still, a couple of bounces and we could be talking about how we won. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
It was kind of odd, shaking hands with those guys at the end of the game, especially since we’re going to see them again Friday night at the Garden. I think it’s just part of the experience, showing our respects to one another. It’s a pretty quick turnaround; we’ll be back in the city tomorrow night to get our rest and be ready to go Friday.
I hope we get another crack at one of these outdoor games. We enjoyed it, and it would definitely be something we’d look forward to. We tried to enjoy this one as much as possible, and I definitely wouldn’t turn down a second one. Obviously, the result wasn’t what we were looking for, but all in all, the experience of it, being able to get the practice in, having some time with our families out there, getting to see the Yankees locker room and really experience Yankee Stadium. It was a lot of great memories.