With Josh Bailey out for the next two weeks with an upper-body injury Jeff Tambellini will replace the center-turned-left wing in the lineup tonight for his first game since January 2 against Atlanta.
I just got off the phone with Bailey, who is understandably bummed about missing the six games leading up to the Olympic break but wise to realize it could be a lot worse.
"Obviously I'm disappointed. These are some big games coming up and I want to help out, I want to help the team," Bailey said. "But I'll be back soon and I'm sure they'll do fine without me."
The void Bailey's absence creates will be significant, however, especially with how well the 20 year-old has been playing recently.
"it's a huge loss," Tambellini said. "He's played so well lately."
Scott Gordon said he's relieved that Bailey's recent emergence won't be stunted by anything too serious and that he's encouraged that he'll be able to return shortly and pick up where he left off.
"I think the biggest thing is he'll be back soon. We didn't want him to not have an opportunity to build on his season so far. He's been a guy that's been coming around and playing well and we want to make sure we keep rolling on that."
"it started with his move to wing, when he started to get more ice time. The thing we're starting to see with Josh is that first year pro going into summer you learn how to train like a pro. You become stronger, battle more and win more battles. As a result he's getting more time on the ice to play with the puck because he's winning more of his own battles. That just comes with physically maturing and doing the right things in the offseason."
As far was what Gordon expects to see from Jeff Tambellini tonight?
"I think with Jeff it's playing a complete game, he's got to play in all three zones. Even though he's scored goals, three of them were in one game, and four in the remaining twenty isn't the kind of production he needs to have. We need production from someone like him and if it happens, it's going to make us a better team."
Tambellini has had one heck of a roller-coaster year, but throughout he's tried to remain positive and has always retained confidence in his play.
"It comes always with the business. You just don't hang your head, keep it held high and hope to jump right back in."