It used to be the way fans would rib Josh Bailey.
“Hey, Josh Bailey,” they’d sing to the tune of the DJ Otzi version of Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby.”
Then it goes, “Ho, Ha. I wanna know, will you score a goal?”
The song, which is believed to have originated in Section 329, for many years was a dig at Bailey’s low scoring totals — and the fandom’s general antipathy for their long-tenured winger.
But things change.
Bailey, who now has scored in both games of the playoffs and put together three straight 50-plus-point seasons, has made fans change their tune, too.
After his power-play goal gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead 11:38 into the third period Friday, Islanders fans sang their tune three times in a row, with notable modifications.
“I wanna know, how you scored that goal,” they screamed.
“It’s special,” said Bailey, who also scored in overtime in Game 1. “It’s great to have that many people behind you — definitely a feeling [that’s] unmatched for sure.”
Game 2 helped paint a picture of a player who’s completed something of a transformation in recent years.
During the optional morning skate, coach Barry Trotz said those qualities had always been there, though they were not always apparent. Before he became the Islanders’ coach, they weren’t even clear to him.
Trotz said he didn’t appreciate Bailey “as much” before he started coaching him “because he doesn’t have a lot of that wow factor.”
“With Bails, it’s all IQ,” Trotz said after the morning skate. “He’s a cerebral player. He makes really intelligent reads. And there will be some things, they’re more subtle. You’ve got to watch him closely. If you’re just looking for the wow factor, you probably don’t see that in Josh. What you do see is all the subtleties and sort of the thinking man’s player.”
For his part, Bailey said his recent play is only part of a bigger whole.
“I think everyone has [stepped up],” he said. “I think we’re all playing hard. I think you can’t really pin it on anyone. I think as a group we’ve come out and played hard the way we needed to, and that’s the way we have to play to win.”
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