Mike Bossy, star of one of the NHL’s greatest dynasties, died Thursday night according to TVA Sports, a French-language network in Canada where Bossy was a hockey analyst.
The Canadian right wing spent his entire 10-year NHL career with the New York Islanders, playing a critical role in their four-straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83.
Bossy was 65 and had announced last October he’d been diagnosed with lung cancer. It’s the third death from those dominant Islanders’ squads already in 2022 as Clark Gillies died in January and Jean Potvin (brother of Denis) died in March.
Wayne Gretzky and Bossy are the only two players in NHL history with nine 50-goal seasons. Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has eight seasons with 50 or more goals, and has eight games left in the current regular season to score four more goals to match Bossy and Gretzky. Bossy is the only player to score 50 goals or more in nine consecutive years. Gretzky did it for eight seasons and Ovechkin’s longest streak is three years in a row with 50 or more.
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Bossy is still the NHL’s all-time leader in regular-season goals per game with 0.762. Only two players have more career hat tricks than Bossy’s 39, Gretzky (50) and Mario Lemieux (40). Comparable to Barry Sanders or Jim Brown in football, the startling fact of Bossy’s career is how he matches up against the best in league history, despite playing several seasons less than them.
In between the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers dynasties, Bossy, Bryan Trottier and company led the Islanders to six straight conference championships, winning four Cups but haven’t been back to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1983. Bossy won the Conn Smythe Trophy, the NHL’s playoff MVP, in 1982. He also scored the championship-winning goals in 1982 and 1983. Bossy is also the only player with four game-winners in the same playoff series.
Bossy is third all-time in points per game and his 69 goals in 1978-79 has only been topped four times since 1990 (Lemieux, Teemu Selanne, Brett Hull and Alexander Mogilny). The eight-time All-Star finished with 573 goals, No. 22 all-time. He also had 553 assists for 1,126 points. Bossy added 160 points in 129 career playoff games. Knee and back injuries prematurely ended his career in 1987. Bossy scored 38 goals and had 75 points in his final NHL season, where he only played 63 games. New York retired his No. 22 jersey in 1992.
Bossy was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.