Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bailey, please lose that number

So it seems that Josh Bailey has a number — 27.

Bailey is wearing the number at the Islanders prospect camp in Syosset.

You know how we feel about No. 27. It should be hanging in the rafters of the Coliseum with TONELLI over it.

Was J.T. a Hall of Fame player? No, but other than the names currently hovering above the ice in Hempstead, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more beloved, harder working, more dynasty-critical player than John Tonelli. He worked the corners, he could score goals, he was a character guy - he was the whole package.

Quick story -- I was working in Manhattan a few years back and our company was relocated down to 28th and Park from Times Square. The first day there, my buddy and I went to a deli across the street for lunch, a real popular place where people lined up for chopped salads (I had a hero, of course).

So we're sitting at a table and in the middle of the line is Tonelli himself. I mention it to my friend, who is about six years younger than me and not a hockey fan at all. He has no clue who Tonelli is. I explain that the guy is my favorite player of all time, and he says I should go up and talk to him.

I've never been one to seek autographs or approach celebrities in public -- I figure they're people leading their lives like the rest of us, so why bother them? My friend says Tonelli is one of those people who is famous only to a select group of fans and is probably not accosted as much as one would think, and that he would probably appreciate someone telling him how much he was admired.

Just as I resolve to head over, Tonelli pays for his lunch and walks out. I figured that maybe he worked in the area and perhaps I would bump into him at lunch again, but I never did, and in my first year in the Blog Box I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him. But you can be sure that if he's in the house when I am, I'll make a point of saying hello.

And telling him that No. 27 should be on a banner and not anyone else's back (sorry, Josh).


Adam said...


Good post, but wanted to let you know Josh did not pick that number, they gave it to him.

Will he wear if he makes the club? Who knows?

Anonymous said...

I have kids and am old enough to remember '75-85. I loved JT, best cornerman of his day. But you have to draw the line somewhere. Why not the Sutter brothers? How bout Bam Bam and Gord Lane? Defense wins championships. Its time for all of us that can remember to stop living in the past and embrace the future. Time is running out. If this circus isn't fixed they will be playing as the Hawaii Islanders in Gary Bettman's NHL. I would rather that Josh Bailey wear 27 and become a star than be forced to wear 99, 88, 87 or 68 because the numbers 1 thru 40 are all retired in memory of some long passed dynasty.

islesfansince1972 said...

JT's number should be retired and in the nvmc rafters, but since they all can't be, let's hope the lucky new guys who get to wear our beloved players'numbers know they have quite a lot to live up to. (Westfall's # 18 should also be up there)

Anonymous said...

Hey Gaspo, its me anonymous again. I apologize that was my first time thru the blog, I didn't realize you had a personal thing with JT. Let me say this, though we are talking about a team sport its very possible without him there would not have been 4 straight cups - he provided too many intangibles and clutch plays that would have been missed. I guess my question about retiring numbers is should that represent hall of fame or the more borderline "Islander" hall of famer. Hopefully Bailey turns out to be both and we can have dual retirement some day.


1) Of course Tonto's number should be up there. He was involved in almost ALL of the biggest goals during the dynasty era. His tireless work ethic as well as being a dam good player make him deservin gof such an honor
2) He was on ALL 4 cup teams, put up 100 points, etc. If you ask the players on those teams almost all would agree #27 should be retired.

7th Woman said...

At the jersey presentation yesterday, the number on the jersey was only "08". So maybe they'll head your advice Gaspo and NOT give him 27. Let's hope so, and maybe even make a little noise. How about that?

Anonymous said...

HELLLOOOOOOO Josh Bailey is number 12 and i like my fav player so yea.....=P..... <3 .....