Even today, there are longtime hockey fans who accuse the Canadians of not having drafted Mike Bossy. However, the headmaster concerned was always pleased because he saw two obstacles in this.
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First, the Habs’ management sent most of their recruits to their school team, which was based in Halifax.
At the time, Guy Lafleur was one of the few who avoided this treatment. However, he had spent much of his first three seasons in the National League wearing his shorts on the big club bench.
Denis Potvin, who dated Bossy during his 10 seasons with the Islanders, also hoped not to be picked by the Canadian.
He didn’t see himself suffering the same fate as Larry Robinson, who spent a season and a half incarcerated with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs before being promoted to the Habs.
How to replace Lafleur?
The other obstacle that stood in Bossy’s way was Guy Lafleur.
“I told myself I was going to have a hard time finding my place as first right winger in Montreal,” he said.
“So I was glad the Canadians didn’t draft me.”
In the right place at the right time
The islanders, meanwhile, welcomed him with open arms.
Like most NHL organizations at the time, the Islanders relied on the expertise of a Quebec scout.
That man, Henry Saraceno, whose son took over after his death, believed Bossy was the perfect candidate for the islanders.
So the New York team at the age of 15 chose Bossyand rank, five positions behind the Canadian who had chosen Mark Napier, who had just played a season with the Birmingham Bulls of the World Association.
The islanders desperately needed a counterattack of his caliber.
“When Bill Torrey (general manager) and Al Arbor told me they had a place for me, I had immediate confidence,” Bossy said.
Ignored by two teams
In addition to the Canadian, 11 other teams have looked up to Bossy. Among them, the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs went so far as to ignore him twice.
Rangers picked Lucien Deblois eighth and Ron Duguay 13thand Position.
John Anderson and Trevor Johansen were claimed 11and and 12and each of the leaves.
Aside from Johansen, who was a defenseman, Deblois, Duguay and Anderson all had long careers in the NHL. But none of them had the punch of Bossy, who never forgot what his critics said about him.
“I was considered too small, not fast enough, not reliable defensively and not capable enough in away games.”
Arbor knew what to tell him
Later, while playing for the Islanders, Bossy asked Arbor what he needed to do to be defensively effective.
His trainer gave him an answer he hadn’t expected, but which was full of meaning.
“Never worry about your defensive play ever again,” Arbor told Bossy.
“If anything goes wrong I’ll let you know, okay?”
Bossy ended his career with a plus 380 differential. For example, what is the best defense in possession of the puck.
Bernard Geoffrion always said it!