Kathy Kmonicek / AP
Mike Bossy flopped to the ice as the puck went in, then got to his feet and jumped up into the air to celebrate that he scored another goal. It was a familiar sight as the New York Islanders were on their way to their third of four consecutive Stanley Cup titles.
Bossy danced on his skates the same way after his 50th goal in 50 games, but so many other times his reaction was more subdued simply because he scored so much and so often, more than almost anyone in the NHL’s long history.
The Hockey Hall of Famer died Thursday night of lung cancer. He was 65.
“Even though it was the opposing coaches ‘obsession with him to hold on to and control him in the opposition players’ focus, Bossy’s brilliance was unstoppable and his production relentless throughout his career,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday. “He thrilled fans like few others.”
An Islanders spokesman said Bossy was in his home country of Montreal, where the team will play Friday night against the Canadiens. Before taking the ice cream on an emotional night at the Bell Center, Islanders striker Anthony Beauvillier told what Bossy meant to his family and career.
“Mike Bossy was a name that was often mentioned in my household when my father cultivated him,” Beauvillier wrote on Instagram. “He wanted to tell stories about how good a goal scorer he is and how he wanted to make it so easy. When I first put on the (Islanders) jersey … that was the first thing my dad said to me, ‘Same team as Mike. “It’s always been an honor for me to wear the same shirt as Mike.”
With Bossy, the Islanders won four NHL championships in a row
Bossy helped the Islanders win the Stanley Cup four years in a row from 1980-83, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as a playoff MVP in 1982. He scored the cup-winning goal in 1982 and ’83 – one of only two players to do so behind. -to-back seasons.
“It’s definitely something I’m proud of,” Bossy said in 1983 after scoring the second cup-winning goal.
Bossy was a first-round pick in 1977 and played his entire 10-year NHL career with New York. He won the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year, won the Lady Byng Trophy for gentleman behavior three times and led the league in goals twice.
Bossy scored 50 or more goals in each of his first nine seasons – the league’s longest streak. He and Wayne Gretzky are the only players in hockey history with nine seasons with 50 goals.
“The New York Islanders organization mourns the loss of Mike Bossy, an icon not only on Long Island, but the entire hockey world,” said Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello. “His quest to be the best every time he stepped on the ice was second to none. Together with his teammates, he helped win four Stanley Cup championships in a row, shaping the history of this franchise forever.”
Bossy’s list of hockey awards includes 39 hat tricks
Bossy was just the second player to score 50 goals in 50 games – a feat that has only been matched three times since. He remains the leader all the time in goals per game in the regular season at 0.762, and only two players have scored more hat tricks than Bossys 39.
He is in third place in points a match and in seventh place on the list of all-time scores. They’re all in the regular season, with Bossy delivering some of the best tracks in the game’s history. In the playoffs, Bossy was even more clutch. He is the only player with four match winners in the same playoff series, and he scored three overtime goals in the playoffs.
Led by Bossy, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier and defender Denis Potvin, the Islanders’ Scotty Bowmans succeeded the Montreal Canadiens from the 1970s as the NHL’s next dynasty before Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers took over the sport.
Bossy was an eight-time All-Star and finished with 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games in the regular season. He was the fastest player to reach the 100-goal mark and is currently ranked 22nd on the list of career goals. In the playoffs, Bossy had 160 points in 129 games.
Back and knee injuries eventually ended his career in 1987. He was limited to 38 goals in 63 games and was unable to return for an 11th season.
This is the third loss from that era this year
Bossy revealed his cancer diagnosis in October in a letter to TVA Sports. He wrote in French: “It is with great sadness that I have to step away from your screens, for a necessary break. I intend to fight with all the determination and fire you have seen me show on the ice.”
This is the third loss from the islander era this year. Fellow Hall of Famer Gillies died in January and Jean Potvin died in March.
Daughter Tanya Bossy said her father “was no longer in pain.”
“My father loved hockey, of course, but first and foremost he loved life,” she said in a statement in French on behalf of the Bossy family. “Until the end of his journey, he hung on. He wanted to live more than anything else.”
Bossy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2017 was named one of the NHL’s 100 best players.
Before reaching the NHL, Bossy played five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Laval National. He had 602 points in 298 QMJHL matches. Bossy also represented Canada at the Canada Cup in 1981 and 1984, long before NHL players began competing at the Winter Olympics.
Funeral arrangements were pending.