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Remembering Mike Bossy’s Legendary Career

Mike Bossy

The hockey world suffered a tremendous loss with the news of Mike Bossy passing on this past Friday. Bossy passed away at age 65 amidst a battle with lung cancer. The Islanders legend was one of the league’s best goal scorers and at the core of the Islanders dynasty of the early 80’s. He ranks as both one of the best players (if not the best player) in Islanders history as well as NHL history.

Bossy’s Career Accolades

Bossy’s career started off with a bang, scoring 53 goals as a 21-year-old player. This included 91 points overall as well as 25 goals on the power play. This performance made him an easy choice to win the Calder Trophy in the 1977-78 NHL season. He would go on to make eight all-star teams across his 10-year career in the NHL. In 1982, Bossy was named MVP of the all-star game after being credited with the game-winning goal for the Wales Conference. He led the league in total goals two times in 1979 (69) and 1981 (68), but this was before the Rocket Richard Trophy existed. Bossy also managed to win 3 Lady Byng Trophies in his career in 1983, 1984, and 1986. This honor speaks to the level of class and dignity Bossy had in combination with his immense talent. 

Another honor Bossy holds is the most consecutive 50-goal seasons in NHL history. He did so in nine straight seasons, spanning from his rookie season to his penultimate season. This also puts Bossy in a tie with Wayne Gretzky for the most non-consecutive 50-goal seasons. In addition, Bossy is tied with Gretzky for the most 60 goal seasons as well, with five a piece. 

A Multiple Time Champion

Mike Bossy


Courtesy of Getty Images

Bossy was one of the core pieces in the four straight Stanley Cup victories for the New York Islanders from 1980-1983. He scored 17 goals in three straight championship postseasons from 1981 to 1983. Across those three championship years, he led the team in game-winning goals in every one. His career high in postseason points came in 1981 when he got 35 total points for the Islanders. However, he didn’t win the Conn Smythe trophy until the year after in 1982. Bossy had seven goals in the championship series against the Vancouver Canucks that postseason. He finished his career with 160 total points across 129 playoff games with the Islanders.  

50 in 50

Mike Bossy
Courtesy of totalsportsblog.com

Through all of Bossy’s awards and accolades, his most impressive feat was scoring 50 goals in 50 games in 1980-81. Bossy came into his 50th game of that season against the Quebec Nordiques needing two goals to achieve the honor. Bossy was very close to being held out from this achievement, going scoreless through 55 minutes in this one. However, at 15:50 in the contest, Bossy capitalized on a power play rebound for number 49. Then at 18:31, Bryan Trottier set up Bossy to deposit the historic 50th goal. The home crowd at the old barn erupted with cheers as the entire team huddled around Bossy. It would be the first time 50 in 50 was achieved in 36 years dating back to when Maurice “Rocket” Richard did so in 1945. 

Post Career Honors

Mike Bossy was inducted to the NHL Hall of Fame in 1991 along with his longtime teammate Denis Potvin. In 1992, Bossy became the second Islanders to ever have his number retired when the team retired his number 22. In honor of the NHL’s centennial season in 2017, Bossy was named on a list of the NHL’s top 100 players of all time. 

Bossy’s Legacy

Bossy will be remembered for just how pure of a goal scorer he was. He had one of the most accurate shots in the NHL and was prolific on the ice. To this day he still holds the all time league in goals per game average, in addition to his consecutive 50 goal seasons record. What makes this all of the more impressive is that it was done over just 10 seasons. Bossy’s career was cut short by injuries, leaving many to wonder what he could’ve accomplished if he had more time. With the way he was able to score, he may have been able to get his name on the top 10 list of the all time goal scorers.

Bossy’s Influence

Mike Bossy
Courtesy of Getty Images

Bossy had a great influence in the Islanders community as well. He often appeared at games and met with many of his adoring fans. A lot of the current and former Islanders players had great things to say about Bossy. Former captain John Tavares spoke about how Bossy was very welcoming to him as a player in his early years as an Islander. Anthony Beauvillier also spoke about how Bossy was idolized by him and his family. “It’s always been an honor for me wearing the same jersey as Mike,” said Beauvillier in an Instagram tribute to Bossy. 

All in all, Mike Bossy was as good a person as he was a player. A number of pro journalists and NHL personalities spoke about the great experiences they’ve had with Bossy in the days since his passing. Everyone has something good to say about Bossy, whether about his goal scoring ability or his general personality. He will be greatly missed within the Islanders community, who also lost the legendary Clark Gillies this year. Bossy will be honored by the Islanders with the team wearing a number 22 patch on their jerseys, right beside the one they’re wearing in tribute to Gillies. 

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images

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