Justin Bailey scored the first goal of his career Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in a 4-1 Sabres win over the Rangers. After practice in Chicago, he shared some thoughts about how it felt to score the goal.
CHICAGO - Scoring my first NHL goal is something that's been on my mind for a long time. Since last year, it's been something I've wanted to accomplish and I went through tons of emotions last night with family, friends and all the people I thought of. It was a special feeling to see the puck go in the net.
It's out of my mind now. I'm a player who gets chances and I get shots on net. I was really, really hoping for one to go in - just one to go in. I'd been thinking, "Aw, what could I have done here to get my first goal?" Now, I think, that's out of the way. I'll get my chances. Some aren't going to go in. Some are. But I think now I have that peace of mind where I know I got that first one. It's done and I can just play my game.
Scoring at MSG was pretty special, too. Chris Drury was one of my favorite players, so I followed him a little bit when he joined the Rangers in 2007. I kept tabs on the team and I always remember how electric that building was. I got a little taste of it the night before at the Knicks game. Then you see just how much louder it is for a Rangers game.
My phone was pretty blown up after the game. I think it's been like that since I got called up last year and since I got drafted. I've gotten lots of real positive tweets too and I appreciate all the support from everybody.
For me, being a big Sabres fan and then being fortunate enough to have Matt Barnaby in my life and Jay McKee, Matt Ellis - who I've become super close with in just the last four or five years - and all of those kinds of guys - aeeing those tweets from them is something that I really appreciate.
Those are guys I lean on. I know how proud my family is and how proud my friends are, but I know guys like that are just as proud as well.
My mom has been to the home games I've played in, for my first game in Philly, of course, last year and a few others on the road, but I told her, "It's been - what? - 14 games and I haven't scored. You can't come to every away game." But she was watching. My whole family and all my buddies were watching together so I got a ton of texts afterwards.
I talked to my mom on the phone very, very briefly at the rink after the game. It was very late by the time we got to the hotel here in Chicago so I ended up catching her this morning for a pretty long phone call. She was definitely very, very emotional.
The call was one I'll remember forever and it's just something that is going to continue to motivate me for as long as I'm here.