Mike Bossy led the New York Islanders with his scoring power throughout the ten years he skated in the NHL. On October 24, 1981, he scored his 250th goal in his 315th game. He set an Islanders record with that number of goals and an NHL record for the speed in which he scored them.
Bossy’s linemate and closest friend, Bryan Trottier, said, “Scoring goals was what mattered to him most. He’d get mad at himself if he didn’t produce in a game.” Whereas Bossy wrote in his autobiography, Boss: The Mike Bossy Story, “I probably developed what scouts called my quick hands and quick release more out of self-defense than anything else.” He wanted to get the shot off before he got hit. The January before, Bossy had succeeded in breaking Maurice Richard’s record for scoring 50 goals in 50 games. In fact, he scored over 50 goals in his first season and in each and every one of the next eight – a record that Wayne Gretzky could not top. For his final season, Bossy still managed to score 38 goals in 63 games, despite his terrible back pain.
The chronic back injury forced Bossy to retire early. He made the announcement on October 24, 1988. Bossy ended his career with 573 regular-season goals (and 553 assists for 1,126 points) and 85 playoff goals, then a record. Over his ten seasons, he had earned the Calder Memorial Trophy (as best rookie), the Conn Smythe Trophy (as the playoffs MVP), three times the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (for sportsmanlike conduct), and four consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Bossy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
- Brian McFarlane, Brian McFarlane’s History of Hockey (Champaign, Ill.: Sports Publishing Inc., c1997), 188, 220, 225.