The Champs: Mike Bossy
The most prolific scorer in Islander history, and one of the most feared snipers of all time, Mike Bossy helped define the Islander offense as a force to be reckoned with... the Isles' all-time leading goal scorer with 573.. also leads the team in all-time power play goals with 181 and game-winning goals with 82... ranks second on team's all-time points list with 1,126... holds or shares 29 Islanders regular season and playoff records... ranks 13th in goals among all NHL players... scored 53 goals in his rookie season, a record that stood for 15 years... scored at least 50 goals in nine consecutive seasons and 60 or more in five, sharing those records with none other than Wayne Gretzky... in 1980-81, became only the second NHL player to score 50 goals in 50 games... won the Conn Smythe award as playoff MVP in 1982... fifth among all-time playoff goal scorers with 85, and first in post-season power play goals with 35... won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1983, 1984 and 1986... named a NHL First Team All-Star in 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1986, and was a Second Team All-Star in 1978, 1979 and 1980... played in the NHL All-Star Game seven times (1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986)... scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1982 and 1983... one of the top 50 players of all time, according to The Hockey News... his career was cut short by injury, but his accomplishments will forever be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame... his number 22 has been retired by the Islanders... has had an eclectic career since his retirement, doing stints as a stockbroker and co-host of a top-rated morning radio show in Quebec... currently works in the public relations and restaurant businesses.
Here's a transcript from a chat session Bossy did in May 2001 with fans on ESPN's Web site:
Q: I've been an Islander fan for 25 years and your immediate presence to the Islanders was a huge lift to the franchise. With the many changes to the game and the players today, how do you think you would do in today's game?
A:Let me think .. it's hard to answer. Everything is hypothetical. The best example I would give would be to look at how Mario did this year. We are basically from the same era so I guess I'll answer it that way. Meaning I think I would probably be doing the same!!
Q: Mike, what are the chances that you could be coming back to the Isles organization in some capacity? Have you been contacted? Do you have any interest?
A: I'm just waiting for the call to discuss it! I've offered my services in the past but they haven't shown any want to get me back there. If they call, then we could work something out I'm sure.
Q: Mike, What are you doing now professionally?
A: I do a lot of PR work for different corporations. I have a restaurant in Montreal called Mike Bossy's, it's a steakhouse.
Q: Mike, do you feel that you couldn't been the highest goal scorer of all-time if your later career wasn't filled with injuries? Please, don't be shy on this one.
A: All those things depend on two things, how long you play and your health. I don't even know how many Gretzky got to as a total. It depends how long I could have played. I feel that yes, if I would have played long enough I'm pretty sure I would have scored enough to make it count.
Q: Do you get discouraged to see the Islanders in the shape they are in today with all the success the franchise had while you were playing?
A: There is no doubt it is disappointing. To see them struggle they way they have in the last years, it is disturbing.
Q: How did it feel to get your first Stanley Cup? Was there any better feeling on earth then winning the Stanley Cup?
A: Winning the first one was unbelievable. That is the team goal of hockey is to win the Cup. There is no doubt it is a great thrill. The others were just as good.
Q: What is your take on the quality of play in the expanded 30 team NHL? What could make it better (if anything)?
A: What has changed is individual talent. In the last 10 years the talent in the NHL is from around the world, more so that when I was playing. You had more individually talented players in my day.
Q: Mike, what was the most enjoyable part of the game for you besides winning 4 consecutive Stanley Cups?
A: Team wise it was the Cups. But just being part of such a great organization was great. My nine consecutive 50 goal seasons was the most memorable. I always tried to base my career on consistency. Tying Rocket's record. Different stages of my career have their own moments.
Q: Hey Mike, With all the clutching and grabbing in the NHL today, don't you think it's time to make the rinks Olympic size in order to focus more on skill and speed?
A: I've watched lots of games on those surfaces and I find just as many of them boring as we have boring games. I think maybe what would be good would be to go halfway between international and what we have. Going to the full international size isn't probably a good idea.
Q: What do you think of the present teams future, and the hiring of Peter Laviolette?
A: I don't who he is to tell you the truth or where he comes from. I can only hope for the best!
Q: Hi Mike. What was your favorite city to play in as a visiting player?
A: Montreal. That is where I am from so it was always great to go home and see family.
Q: Hey Mike, I just wanted to ask you was there any point in your tremendous career where you just didn't want to play anymore and didn't have the passion?
A: The only time was when I had the back injury my final season. On top of being physically painful, it was bad mentally. Very strenuous. It would feel fine one day and not the next. The frustration of not having a doctor who could diagnose it was frustrating.
Q: Do you see any of your game of some of today's younger players? If so, who?
A: I really don't watch enough to really be able to make an opinion that is worth anything! I don't want to insult anybody or give somebody too much praise if it's not deserved!
Q: My buddy said the only time he ever cried at a game was the night the Islanders retired your number. any thoughts on that moment?
A: Having your number retired is the highlight of your career. It means you meant something to the organization and you really left your mark. It is a cliche but it is a crowing moment and a great feeling. You don't realize it when you are done, but you realize it down the road that nobody will ever wear that number. It's a great feeling.
Here's more from Bossy, said during the 1980-81 season.
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