New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy has left us too soon. At the age of 65, Mike passed away after battling lung cancer. A gentleman on and off the ice, Mike's impact will be felt on the game for generations.
So let's talk about some of the biggest reasons why he has and will continue to have a massive impact on the game of hockey.
New York Islanders: Mike Bossy's impact on the game of hockey
Nine Consecutive 50+ Goal Seasons
There's no greater testament to his goal-scoring prowess than this record. Nine straight seasons with at least 50 goals. It's a record that has never been equaled and likely never will.
Even some of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history haven't even come close. Here's how the top five goal scorers in the league stack up:
Wayne Gretzky: 894 goals - 8 consecutive 50+ goal seasons
Gordie Howe: 801 goals - 0 consecutive 50+ goal seasons*
Alex Ovechkin: 776 goals** - 3 consecutive 50+ goal seasons
Jaromir Jagr: 766 goals - 0 consecutive 50+ goal seasons
Brett Hull: 741 goals - 5 consecutive 50+ goal seasons
*Routinely played in 70 game seasons
That's a cross-generational record that still stands. There's no doubt that Bossy is the greatest goal scorer that ever played the game.
50 goals in 50 games
The first player to hit the mark was Maurice Richard back in 1945. And for 36 years Richard remained the only player to achieve the feet.
And then on January 24, 1981, Bossy scored twice against the Quebec Nordiques to hit 50 goals in 50 games. No one thought the Rocket's record could be matched but there was Bossy 36 years later doing the thing.
Mike opened the door to say: "look it can be done" and a few other elite goal scorers followed in his footsteps. From that day in 1981, a number of players have been able to hit 50 in 50.
Four Straight Stanley Cups
Mike's ability to put up goals and points in the regular season is well documented. But it's not as if he wilted away in the playoffs. With 1.24 points per game in 129 postseason games, Bossy ranks fourth all-time for anyone who's played at least 100 playoff games. Only Gretzky (1.84), Lemieux (1.61), and Messier (1.25) averaged more points per game in the postseason.
Obviously, with that type of production, Bossy was a massive part of the Isles dynasty with four cups, five consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup finals, and 19 consecutive playoff series wins. That last one is not a record in hockey but in North American sports.
Bossy wasn't a fighter. It's not something he liked to do. And he wasn't shy to let anyone know. And that's a big deal considering the era he played in. A player who loudly stated they wouldn't fight in the 80s was seen as soft and not cut out for the NHL.
But Mike showed them that he didn't need to fight to make them feel 'pain'.
Mike's brave stance to go against the grain is something that still reverberates today. Some 35 years since Bossy hung up his skates, we're still having the discussions thanks to Trevor Zegras. Mike was well ahead of his time. Yet another reason he stands out as a legend of the game.
Legacy impacting every generation
The final aspect of Bossy's legacy is how all of it comes together to create this legendary figure. His impact is so great that it has gone beyond those that saw him play. Case and point this post from Anthony Beauvillier on Instagram after the passing of Mike Bossy was announced.
I've never seen Bossy play. Born in 1984 I was too young to see the dynasty team, but their success as a team as individuals was never lost on me or on others like me.