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Battered into submission
Mark Mulvoy
May 08, 1978
Toronto's plan was to win by bullying, and when the Islanders failed to fight back, they dropped a shocking series
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May 08, 1978

Battered Into Submission

Toronto's plan was to win by bullying, and when the Islanders failed to fight back, they dropped a shocking series

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One incident clearly indicated just how intimidated the Islanders had become. In the second period, Butler needlessly pushed Bossy into the boards, and the Islanders' rookie crumbled to the ice. Denis Potvin watched but instead of retaliating, he calmly skated away. Bossy remained motionless for almost 15 minutes before being carted out on a stretcher. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but returned to New York with the team when X rays showed that his neck was sprained, not broken.

"When someone does what Butler did to Bossy, it becomes the law of the jungle," said one NHL general manager. "If a player on my team skated away without getting even right then and there, he wouldn't be on my team the next day. What the Islanders are proving in this series is that they're no longer a tough team."

New York Defenseman Gerry Hart, disgusted with the pacifism of some of his teammates, shook his head as he recalled the Bossy hit. "Some of our guys didn't make the trip to Toronto, I'm afraid. Or maybe they're here but checked something at the airport."

"We're suiting up everyone, but not everyone's showing up out there," said another player. Indeed, the best hit made by an Islander in Game 6 was Billy Harris' thundering check on Trottier. Trouble is, Harris and Trottier are teammates, and the collision bruised Trottier's jaw.

For Game 7 Saturday night, Trottier also wore a cagelike mask for protection, and when he faced McDonald, it looked like something out of Star Wars. It was a quiet game, though, the quietest of them all. Turnbull and Potvin exchanged goals, just as they had done in Game 5, but this time McDonald didn't miss in overtime.

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