Mike Bossy, the quiet hero of the Stanley Cup-winning islands, has died

Alas, my lord: Mike Bossy, after finishing his great hockey career, felt that the New York Islanders were underestimated. Who can tell?

Bossy, who died on Friday at the age of 65, was a must artist – in his hometown, as they say in Quebec, one of the biggest teams I’ve ever covered: so many great players and great minds arrived, game by game.

In an unforgettable 1982 Stanley Cup final, I saw Bossy win the game in the first leg in extra time, and in the third game, in Vancouver, he was sent off by his antagonist Tiger Williams to score a goal. while in the air. Unparalleled.

However, Bossy once told Sports Illustrated that the islanders did not feel valued.

Just because the islanders played in a soft barn in the Long Island suburbs?

Did the Islanders treat the Stanley Cup finals like another home game because they were a humble and humble organization?

Because the Rangers and the Minors got more attention after a game from the Manhattan Sprinklers?

The Edmonton Oilers had the nickname “Great Gretzky” because they had a mystique and, quite rightly, a willow scorer.

Bossy’s presence was pale and soft on the ice, and even in a steamy locker room with his post-game cigarette. (I often mentioned this harmful presence; now I think he died of lung cancer).

Athletic geniuses are not necessarily the boys of journalists looking for knowledge after a victory or a loss. But Bossy was just as decent as they were, ready to deal with the club’s situation. And it was a great club for men: honest Bob Nystrom, honest Bob Bourne, tough guy Clark Gillies, stand-up Denis Potvin and Swedish bilingual Anders Kallur and Stefan Persson. Unappreciated? No. very.

I still think of it as The Boys of Winter, a paraphrase of Roger Kahn’s tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers: “The Boys of Summer.” Memorable characters, such as the formidable Al Arbor, the shine behind his glasses, the pursuer behind the chair, pick the players they can take.

The boss? Arbor told him to go outside and score goals. This is how you treat a resident artist.

Bossy was touched. He developed his track on a crowded Montreal backyard. (Another hockey favorite artist Mine, Pierre Larouche of Quebec, talks about hearing – hearing – the speed and direction of the puck after sunset in a frozen pond. Keep up the good content.)

When Bossy formed the Islanders in 1977-78, it was paired with two linebackers who soon created a unit that would last a decade. Hockey lines — running away for a quick minute or two and then going to the bench to recover energy — are no other team in a sports team.

He was paired with Bossy Gillies, he could score and defend and he could win. poutine from an annoying opponent, and Brian Trottier, a two-way artist: a scorer and a walker, plus a cold-blooded killer. Trottier and his Bossy friends were friends, so different in style and character, wonderful complements to each other.

Sometimes artists win games. It’s been four decades since the Vancouver Canucks came to Long Island to open a Stanley Cup final series.

On the dirty frontier of the Nassau Coliseum, the Canucks faced the home team in the first leg in extra time, and a seasoned defense of Harold Snepsts was controlling the puck. Snepsts saw an open lane and threw the puck to the side – the evil Tiger Williams said he shouted at his teammate to hold back the scream – but Mike Bossy came out of the shadows and glistening the ice, instinctively and experiencedly intercepting the pass. and provisional for the purpose of sudden death.

The Islanders won the second game, and both teams flew across the continent. In the third game, Williams was throwing himself in front of the home fans, muscling Bossy whenever he could. But Bossy managed to keep up with a shot, while it was almost horizontal on the ice, to score a goal, and the Islanders won the third game, and the fourth. artist at the peak of his skill.

Two years later, the Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups, and came face to face with the arriving Oilers. The teams split the first two games on Long Island and then headed to the province of Alberta for three games in a row. The Islanders looked like they were skating on the surface of the Slurpees, their base players spent the equivalent of an extra season of tiring Stanley Cup hockey, and the Islanders didn’t win a game in Edmonton. The run was over.

Now the islanders had to talk about destruction, or not talk about it. The following paragraphs give an idea of ​​what Mike Bossy was like:

“This is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever felt in my career,” Bossy said. “There has always been a feeling that we can overcome our obstacles. We were also on the threshold at the beginning of the year. But you never feel like it will happen. It’s a ridiculous feeling. “

As the seconds passed, when asked if he had seen the young Oilers running to a celebration in the middle of the ice, Bossy showed the empathy we had hoped for: “It reminded me of when we first won the Cup. The feeling that we have finally won. That’s what I could feel in them. ‘

We tried to subtly suggest that the Islanders would skate in the old age of hockey after losing the Cup for the first time and facing changes that were probably essential.

“I love all the guys on this team,” Bossy said. “It’s frustrating to think that some of them might not be here. You hate to see guys who have experienced it emotionally go. But that’s up to the organization. “

Bossy was asked if it was helpful for him to realize that the islanders had been taken away by a good team, not a lucky one. He said: “It’s definitely a good team, but that doesn’t help much.”

He started playing for another three seasons, a bit of a responsible body that was knocked down and knocked down. He left behind great statistics, and became a humorous commentator, in French and English, on hockey and life. When he returned to Long Island, he was as close as ever.

Were the islanders — and Mike Bossy — underestimated at the highest level of their sport? Not here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.