"I used to
fly off the handle at everything," Bossy admits, "and I still will if
there's something said about me that I feel is worth it. But now I
differentiate much better between what's worth it and what isn't."
Still, Bossy and
many of his Islander teammates operate on different wave lengths. For instance,
most people believe the Islanders depend far too much on the Trottier line;
Bossy believes they don't rely enough on the line in important games. "It's
that kind of ego that makes Mike the player he is," Torrey says. Also,
until this season it always irked Bossy that he didn't receive more ice time
from Arbour; in fact, his relationship with Arbour turned chilly the first time
the coach removed him from a game for defensive reasons in his rookie season.
Bossy has had more playing time this season, and he is even the Islanders'
fifth penalty-killer; he scored the first shorthand goal of his career five
weeks ago and says, "That's my biggest thrill this year."
sensitive to imagined slights, however. When he scored his 200th career goal
against Colorado last month, only two Islanders stopped by his locker after the
game to congratulate him—and Bossy took it as an insult. And he says there have
been team parties to which he hasn't been invited.
"I think Mike
reads a lot into things that aren't there," says Resch. "The thing
about Mike is that he wants an immediate and positive feedback from the team.
O.K., but then he's got to work on his input."
Resch says that
all the Islanders have "a genuinely affectionate feeling for Mike. The
turning point was last year's playoffs. That's when acceptance turned into
affection." Two years ago Bossy's 69 goals helped lead the Islanders to
their first NHL regular-season championship, and his five goals in the playoff
quarterfinals helped them sweep Chicago. But Bossy was held to one goal as the
Islanders were upset by the Rangers in the semifinals, and he didn't handle his
adversity very well around his teammates.
Bossy suffered a
jammed right thumb in a preliminary playoff series last spring and missed the
first three games of the Islander Bruin quarterfinals, three fight-filled games
the Islanders won. "I know there were guys on the team who didn't think I
was injured badly enough to be out of the lineup," Bossy says, "and
there were even guys who thought the team was better off without me. When I
came back, I wanted to prove I was still a part of the team, a major
to find an Islander who will substantiate Bossy's suspicions, but when he
returned in the fourth Boston game, he scored twice. He was the second-leading
scorer in the playoffs with 10 goals and 13 assists in 16 games (Trottier set a
Stanley Cup record with 29 points, including 12 goals), and he scored four
goals and seven assists in the six games the Islanders needed to beat
Philadelphia in the finals and win the cup for the first time.
success, Bossy insists that hockey is strictly a job, not his life. His life is
his home and his family. "Anything that separates me from my wife and my
daughter makes me sad," he says. For the three Bossys, home is Montreal,
not Long Island. When Mike was 14 he met Lucie Creamer, who was working at the
snack bar of the arena in which he played midget hockey. They began dating two
months later. "It will be 10 years this March 1," he says. They were
married July 23, 1977, the day after Bossy signed his first contract with the
Islanders. In the off-season the Bossys stick close to Montreal. None of his
teammates spends less time on Long Island. Bossy is one of only two
Islanders—second-year Center Steve Tambellini is the other—who do not own a
piece of Long Island real estate; he has rented the same Northport duplex ever
since he joined the team. "If I sign with the Islanders again," says
Bossy, whose $250,000-per-season contract expires in 1982, "then I'll buy a
But what language
will be spoken in the house? Wherever Bossy, who was raised English in
Montreal, and Lucie, who was raised French, are together, ils parlent français
settlement. "It's really weird," one Islander says. "Lucie will be
having a perfectly fine conversation in English with one of the other wives
after a game, but as soon as Mike comes out of the locker room and joins her,
Lucie speaks French and Mike translates. And Lucie speaks English
to see nothing odd in the arrangement. "That's just the way we do it,"
he says. "At home, French, only; that's what we're teaching Josiane. When
we're out, I translate." Finally, Bossy laughs. "I guess it does sound
like a soap opera," he says.