Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Mike Bossy had a prolific junior hockey career for the Laval National, with whom he played for five seasons, beginning with 4 appearances in 1972-73. Playing a full season in 1973-74, he reeled off a 70 goal, 118 point season in 68 games.
He kept his foot on the gas the following year, topping that with an impressive 84 goals and 149 points in 67 games, 2.22 points per games. In the post season, his torrid pace continued with 38 more points in 16 games. Over the next two seasons he would add 79 goals and 136 points followed by another 75 goals and 126 points to set the all-time QMJHL record with 309 career goals, a mark which still stands today and ranks 28 goals higher that the next closest pursuer.
Bossy with Laval
Thought of as being too timid by NHL scouts, Bossy was not chosen until 15th overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft, which included being passed over by the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs not once, but twice.
Playing on a line with Bryan Trottier and Clark Gilles, Bossy would set the hockey world on fire when he scored 53 goals in his rookie season of 1977-78, the first rookie to ever reach 50, while winning the Calder Trophy in the process.
Gilles, Trottier and Bossy
The following season he would better that by becoming only the second player after Maurice Richard, and first in 36 years, to score 50 goals in 50 games. Bossy did it in dramatic style with two goals in the last five minutes of game number 50. He would finish the season with 69 goals to lead the league and 57 assists for 126 points, good for fourth overall.
Bossy poses with Maurice Richard to commemorate their 50 goals in 50 games
1979-80 would see Bossy once more top the 50 mark with 51 goals in 75 games and the Islanders would capture their first of four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships as Bossy contributed 23 points in just 16 games.
While topping 50 goals the previous season, he did fail to reach 100 points during the regular season. Over the course of the next six seasons, he would blow past the 100 point level, never scoring less than 117, with a high of 147 in 1981-82.
During the 1980-81 season he would set a career high in goals with 68 to once again lead the NHL and pour in a remarkable 17 goals and 35 points in 18 playoff games as the Islanders would capture their second straight Stanley Cup.
Their third Stanley Cup Championship would see Bossy be recognized with the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP following 17 goals and 27 points in 19 games. This came on the heels of his 147 point regular season and his second consecutive 60 goal season when he tallied 64.
The Islanders dynasty was now in full force and Bossy once more reached 60 goals, this time on the nose with an even 60. His 118 point regular season continued his 100 point season streak and the playoffs would again see him get his now customary 17 goals (for the third year in a row and the only player to ever do so) and 26 points in 19 games. He would also be recognized for his style of play with the first of three Lady Byng Trophies following the season.
Bossy with the Lady Byng Trophy
1983-84 was another 118 point season with 51 goals scored. The Islanders would make it once more to the finals, but the dynasty would end as they were defeated by the up and coming Edmonton Oilers 4 games to 1. The Islanders 21 playoff games would see Bossy contribute 18 points. He was the recipient of his second Lady Byng Trophy after being whistled for just 8 penalty minutes for the entire season, the second lowest total of his career following just 6 during his rookie campaign.
His remarkable goal scoring consistency continued unabated, as 58 more would be added to his career total during a 117 point campaign in 1984-85. 10 more playoff games allowed Bossy to add another 11 points for the Islanders.
Showing no signs of slowing down, he would reach 61 goals, paired with 62 assists, giving him his highest point total in four seasons with 123, which included becoming just the 20th player in league history to score 1,000th career points, accomplished on this date in 1986 in grand style, registering a goal and four assists in a 7-5 win over the Washington Capitals. He would also capture this third Lady Byng Trophy in the space of four seasons as well.
Now slowed by back injuries, his final season of 1986-87, Bossy appeared in 63 games and scored 38 goals and 75 points, still over a point per game, before retiring at the age of just 30.
His final career totals of 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points in 752 games would give him a final career average of 1.50 points per game over his ten NHL seasons and his 160 career playoff points in 129 games were a 1.24 points per game clip. At the time of his retirement, he held the record for most goals by a rookie and most assists and points by a right wing in a single season. He still ranks third all time in hat tricks with 39. He also reached 100 goals faster than any player in history, doing so in just 129 games. He was also the quickest at one point to 300 and 500 career goals scored.
His goals per game average of .762 in the regular season is the highest in NHL history and his playoff goals per game average of .659 is second only to Mario Lemieux.
He also still holds the NHL record for the most consecutive 50 goal seasons with nine, and shares the record with Wayne Gretzky for the most 60 goal seasons with five, despite playing 10 years less than Gretzky.
Internationally, he was a member of Team Canada in the 1981 and 1984 Canada Cup tournaments, earning a gold medal in in 1984. Due to the Islanders consistent playoff history, he was never available for World Championships duty.
Bossy celebrates with Islanders teammate John Tonelli during the Canada Cup in 1984
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and his jersey #22 was retired by the Islanders in 1992.
Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 New York Islanders Mike Bossy jersey as worn during the season he scored his 1,000th point.
When Bossy joined the Islanders in 1977, they had just changed from a lace-up collar to a v-neck while wearing two color names and a bolder font for the numbers. In 1978 the stripes on the blue jerseys would be unified, now with a white stripe directly above a thicker orange stripe. This would be the jersey worn for their four stanley Cup championships, lasting through 1983-84.
In 1984-85, the names would change to one color and the font for the numbers would become narrower. This style would remain unchanged through 1995 when a change in ownership would result in the debacle that was the Islanders Fishsticks jerseys being born.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1981 Team Canada Mike Bossy jersey. The minimalist style used by Canada for the Canada Cup tournaments is remarkable in it's stark simplicity, with it's single color crest and customization.
It features a bold half maple leaf on the front, which was based on the Canada Cup trophy awarded to the tournament champions. Canada would not use this style for any other international tournament, such as the World Championships, as those jerseys were subject to supplier contracts with jersey manufacturers like as Adidas, Tackla, Reebok and Nike, who supplied all the teams participating in IIHF tournaments beginning in the mid-1980's.
Here is a career retrospective of Mike Bossy, which includes his dramatic 50th goal in his 50th game in 1980.
Up next is a nice interview with Bossy as he looks back on his career and a variety of topics.
A recap of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals is next up, showing the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics patch on the Islanders jerseys. The passion and excitement of the Islander and their fans is infectious and recommended viewing. A reminder of what it's all about.
We don't know about you, but all this writing has left us hungry. Ça, c'est du bon poulet!