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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Born January 22, 1957 (1957-01-22) (age 53),
Montreal, QC, CAN
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Right wing
Shot Right
Pro clubs New York Islanders
NHL Draft 15th overall, 1977
New York Islanders
WHA Draft 44th overall, 1977
Indianapolis Racers
Playing career 1977 – 1987
Hall of Fame, 1991

Michael Dean Bossy (born January 22, 1957 in Montreal, Quebec) is a former Canadian ice hockey player who played for the New York Islanders for his entire career and was part of their four-year reign as Stanley Cup champions in the early 1980s. Known for his powerful shot, he was among the league's goal scoring leaders and considered one of the greatest bona-fide snipers in hockey history. Though his career was cut short by injuries, Bossy's dominance is exemplified by his .762 goals-per-game ratio, the best in NHL history.


Playing career

He started his junior career with Quebec Major Junior Hockey League at the age of 15. Despite scoring 309 goals in four seasons, Bossy was considered a timid player by NHL scouts.

In the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft, he was passed over by twelve teams, with the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs ignoring him twice. However, the New York Islanders made him their first choice, 15th overall. General manager Bill Torrey was torn at first between taking Bossy and another forward.[citation needed] Bossy was known as a scorer who couldn't check, while the other forward could check but wasn't very good offensively. Coach Al Arbour persuaded Torrey to pick Bossy, figuring it was easier to teach a scorer how to check.[citation needed] Bossy was placed on a line with Bryan Trottier and Clark Gillies, known as The Trio Grande.[1][2]

Bossy boldly predicted that he would score 50 goals in his rookie season. He made good on his promise, scoring a then-record 53 goals as a rookie in the 1977–78 season, won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, and was named a Second Team All-Star.

In 1980–81, Bossy scored 50 goals in the first 50 games of the season, the first to do so since the great Maurice Richard thirty-six years earlier. Richard was on hand to congratulate Bossy for achieving that milestone.

Bossy was known for being able to score goals in remarkable fashion, the most incredible, perhaps, in the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks when, up-ended by a check from Tiger Williams and flying several feet in the air, parallel to the ice, Bossy nonetheless managed to hook the puck with his stick and score. Bossy was also noted for his clean play, never resorting to fighting (and being one of the first players to speak out against violence on the ice), and winning the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play three times: 1983, 1984 and 1986.

Bossy has harbored some animosity towards Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers, stating that the Islanders got little recognition for their dynasty (1980–1983) compared to the Montreal Canadiens (1976–1979) or Edmonton Oilers (1984–1990). Bossy complained "I do a lot of promoting for how good [the Islanders] were...We never got one millionth of the recognition we should. We had a very low-key organization. They didn't want guys doing too much, because they thought the hockey might suffer. People don't talk about us in the first mention of great teams." [3] During Gretzky's interview with the New York Post in 1993, he praised Bossy as the best right-winger ever to play, saying that their scoring totals would have been even higher if the two had played together. Bossy's response in the Post was not complimentary, as he pointed out that their playing styles were different, and also said that Trottier was the best. Gretzky afterwards could not be reached for comment. [4]

The dominant scoring star of the late 1970s was Guy Lafleur but his skills waned in the 1980s. In 1982, Bossy set a scoring record for right-wingers with 147 points while also winning the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy. However, far more attention was given to Gretzky who not only won the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy, but also shattered scoring records with an unheard of 212 points and 92 goals. Bossy aspired to be the best player of his era but fell short, as the Hart and Art Ross Trophies were two of the awards that eluded Bossy during his career, going to LaFleur, Trottier, and Gretzky.[1][5] Although the Islanders swept the Oilers in the 1983 final to win a fourth consecutive championship, Gretzky and his Oilers still received the most attention.[6]

The Islanders made a fifth consecutive Stanley Cup final in 1984 (The "Drive for Five") but they were outmatched by the Oilers who defeated them 4 games to 1. Bossy, who had scored 8 goals after the first three rounds of the playoffs (and 17 goals in the past three consecutive post-seasons), was silenced completely in the finals series.[7]

Afterwards, the Islanders would slowly decline, while injuries would take their toll on Bossy's back. He was limited to 63 games in the 1986–87 season but he still managed to score 38 goals, retiring after the season at just age 30.[8]

Career after hockey

Bossy retired in 1987 at the age of 30 and worked as a television broadcaster for the Quebec Nordiques until 1990. He afterwards recalled not being able to get a job with an NHL organization since then, saying "I contacted the Canadiens at least two or three times [in the mid-1990s] because I thought I could help the organization in some way, not necessarily as a coach but in some role that could be developed. They never called back". Bossy also had hopes when former teammate Bryan Trottier was hired as New York Rangers coach in 2002, saying "I also thought I'd get a call. The reason was, I remember having umpteen conversations with Bryan, having roomed with him for 10 years, that went, 'One of these days, Mike, we're going to take a team and do it our way.' I've found out since from Bryan [who was fired in his first season] that he wasn't going to be given that chance." [3]

Bossy then did a three-year stint as part of the morning zoo crew on CKOI, a French-language radio station in Montreal. He started out doing promotional work for Humpty Dumpty in the late 1990s, a snack-food manufacturer based in eastern Canada. He became the Quebec sales director of the company in 2003. [3]

In 2005, Bossy made a cameo appearance on the fourth sequel to the French Canadian classic movie Les Boys, playing himself.

On October 13, 2006, the Islanders held a news conference to announce that Bossy had rejoined the organization, working with the front office in sponsor and fan development. [9]


Bossy holds the current NHL record for most consecutive 50+ goal seasons with nine. Bossy and Wayne Gretzky are the only players to have scored 50 or more goals for nine seasons. Additionally, both are the only players ever to have scored 60 or more goals in as many as five seasons. Unlike Gretzky, however, who played 20 seasons and 1,487 games, Bossy was healthy enough only for 10, of which only the first nine were full and just over half the games (752).

As he never played long enough for his skills to diminish, his scoring averages remain quite high. Bossy averaged .762 goals per game in the regular season, more than any other player in NHL history, and .659 in the playoffs, second only to Mario Lemieux at .710.

In the 1977–78 NHL season, he became the first player to have a 50+ goal rookie season. Scoring 53 goals his rookie season, he established a rookie record that wasn't broken until the 1992–93 season by Teemu Selanne's 76 goals.

In the 1980–81 NHL season, he scored 50 goals in the first 50 games of the season. He also recorded nine hat tricks that season, establishing an NHL-record (broken by Gretzky in 1981–82 with 10). Bossy also set a record for goals in a season and playoffs combined with a total of 85, breaking Reggie Leach's record of 80 in 1975-76.

In 1982, Bossy set scoring records for right-wingers with 83 assists and 147 points in 80 games. These would stand until the 1995–96 season when Jaromir Jagr broke both records with 87 assists and 149 points, in what was an 82-game schedule.

Bossy earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1982, and scored 17 goals in three straight playoffs—1981, 1982, and 1983—the only player ever to do so. In reaching the Stanley Cup Finals five times, between 1980 and 1984, Bossy scored 69 goals. By contrast, in Gretzky's five Stanley Cup Finals playoffs during his peak years with the Edmonton Oilers, he scored 59 goals.

Bossy earned 5 First Team All-Star selections, one of only four right wings ever to do so, again a notable achievement considering that the other three had much longer careers (Gordie Howe - 26 years; Maurice Richard - 18 years; Guy Lafleur - 17 years).

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991. His #22 jersey was retired by the Islanders on March 3, 1992. In 1998, he was ranked number 20 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, despite having an injury-shortened career.

Bossy is the fastest player to reach 100 goals in the amount of games played in '78 - '79.

In 81'-82' Bossy was the fastest player to reach 300 goals in the amount of games played, as well as the fastest player to reach 500 goals in the amount of games played in 85'-86', to only have both goal marks to be surpassed and scored faster by Wayne Gretzky's 300 goals in 83'-84' and 500 goals in 86'-87'.

Bossy is the third fastest player to reach the 500 goal mark in the amount of games played (647), only behind Wayne Gretzky's 500 goals in 575 games played and Mario Lemieux's 500 goals in 605 games played.

Bossy is ranked 19th on the NHL all time goal scoring list with 573 life time goals.

Bossy is fourth in the NHL for most 100+ point seasons. He has had seven 100+ point seasons in his NHL career, only behind Wayne Gretzky's fourteen 100+ point seasons, Mario Lemieux's ten 100+ point seasons, and Marcel Dionne's eight 100+ point seasons.

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1972–73 Laval National QMJHL 4 1 2 3 0
1973–74 Laval National QMJHL 68 70 48 118 45 11 6 16 22 2
1974–75 Laval National QMJHL 67 84 65 149 42 16 18 20 38 2
1975–76 Laval National QMJHL 64 79 57 136 25
1976–77 Laval National QMJHL 61 75 51 126 12 7 5 5 10 12
1977–78 New York Islanders NHL 73 53 38 91 6 7 2 2 4 2
1978–79 New York Islanders NHL 80 69 57 126 25 10 6 2 8 2
1979–80 New York Islanders* NHL 75 51 41 92 12 16 10 13 23 8
1980–81 New York Islanders* NHL 79 68 51 119 32 18 17 18 35 4
1981–82 New York Islanders* NHL 80 64 83 147 22 19 17 10 27 0
1982–83 New York Islanders* NHL 79 60 58 118 20 19 17 9 26 10
1983–84 New York Islanders NHL 67 51 67 118 8 21 8 10 18 4
1984–85 New York Islanders NHL 76 58 59 117 38 10 5 6 11 4
1985–86 New York Islanders NHL 80 61 62 123 14 3 1 2 3 4
1986–87 New York Islanders NHL 63 38 37 75 33 6 2 3 5 2
NHL totals 752 573 553 1126 210 129 85 75 160 38

See also


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b c [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ [5]
  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ [7]
  8. ^ [8]

External links

Preceded by
Willi Plett
Winner of the Calder Trophy
Succeeded by
Bobby Smith
Preceded by
Guy Lafleur
NHL Goal Leader
Succeeded by
Danny Gare, Charlie Simmer, Blaine Stoughton
Preceded by
Danny Gare, Charlie Simmer, Blaine Stoughton
NHL Goal Leader
Succeeded by
Wayne Gretzky
Preceded by
Butch Goring
Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
Succeeded by
Billy Smith
Preceded by
Rick Middleton
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
1983, 1984
Succeeded by
Jari Kurri
Preceded by
Jari Kurri
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
Succeeded by
Joe Mullen

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