New York Islanders legend and four-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Bossy passed away on Thursday at age 65. One of the biggest names in NHL history, Bossy leaves behind a tremendous legacy which he accrued over a 10-year playing career.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin shared his thoughts on Bossy on Friday afternoon.
“Obviously I met him a couple times. He was always smiling, he always had a good mood and it’s a sad day for the whole world,” Ovechkin said. “He was a legend and obviously he was a great person. I would say he was a greatest, like very good goal scorer, and it’s sad news. I wish all the best to his family. How I said, it’s sad for the whole world, hockey world.”
Ovechkin paid tribute to Bossy just as he’s chasing his hockey predecessor for a very prestigious record. Bossy is tied with Wayne Gretzky for the most 50-goal seasons in NHL history with nine apiece. Astonishingly, Bossy’s career was half as long as Gretzky’s. With 46 goals on the year, Ovechkin needs four more goals in Washington’s remaining eight games to tie that mark with his ninth 50-goal campaign.
“It would be a pretty cool moment to be in that company,” Ovechkin said. “To be with Bossy and Gretzky in the same company, it will be nice. But if it happens, it would be great. If it’s not, I’m gonna try to do it next year.”
This isn’t the first time Bossy and Ovechkin have been intertwined in the NHL’s history books. With his 575th career goal scored in November of 2017, Ovechkin pulled ahead of Bossy for No. 21 on the league’s all-time goals list, where Washington’s captain has since skyrocketed up to third.
As Ovechkin continued to chase Gretzky’s all-time lead, Bossy took note of the Great 8’s prolific scoring in February of 2020. When asked if Ovechkin could break the record, Bossy told ESPN, “A lot of people have been asking me if he can get to Gretzky's goal mark, and my answer is that if he wants to, I think he can, if he stays healthy.”
Bossy scored 60 goals in half of his 10 professional seasons, yet another seemingly unbelievable stat from the late Islander’s career. Ovechkin has reached that 60-goal plateau once, and put it into context how talented Bossy was.
“Obviously it’s crazy stats, crazy numbers. I was lucky to get 60 one time,” Ovechkin said. “Those guys can score, those guys love to play hockey. It was a pleasure to watch how they played on the video tapes and I was lucky to meet him when he was alive and he was always smiling, how I said, and had always a good mood.”