Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
When the New York Islanders thrashed the Washington Capitals, 6-0, on Nov. 13, rookie Mike Bossy scored two goals. Clark Gillies, the Islanders' captain, assigned himself rather than Bossy to a penalty shot, which proved successful, and said afterwards, "Mike will get plently of tricks in this league."
Saturday night Bossy won his first NHL hat, on a perfect setup from Gillies, and raised his league-leading goal total to 39. That is five short of the NHL rookie record set six years ago of Buffalo's Richard Martin.
There was another milestone, largely unnoticed by the sellout crowd of 15,317 at Nassau Colliseum. The Washington Capitals, this time 6-1 victims of the powerful Islanders, suffered their 200th lifetime defeat. That is 21 more losses than New York has sustained, despite a defeat handicap two years before the Capitals were born.
Bossy last year was voted the most gentlemanly player in the Quebec Major Junior League and, despite 308 goals in four years, there were some who questioned his lack of aggressiveness. Some wondered about his backchecking ability, among them Washington scout Billy Taylor, who said, "Bossy is the best player in Canada from the blueline in."
Bossy has received only one minor penalty this year, but there is no question of his ability to play in the NHL. Besides, if the 6-foot, 185-pounder runs into trouble, the 6-3, 220-pound Gillies is available.
Gillies was open with four minutes remaining last night, but he poked the puck to bossy and teammates and fans erupted when the hat trick became a fait accompli.
"He needed it more than I did," said Gillies. "It's his first one, right?"
Bossy claimed to be excited, but didn't really look it. The youngster spends most of his off-ice time watching television with his wife and hasn't been caught up in the excitement of his brilliant season.
"I'm sure when I get home (to Montreal), I'll hear about it, Bossy said, "but I haven't had a chance to realize it yet. Here I talk mostly to my wife and I don't have a lot of other people to talk to.
The Islanders rolled from the start last night, firing 22 shots at Bernie Wolfe while building a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Bossy began the scoring parade at 7:07, converting Bryan Trottier's pass from behind the net on a power play. Trottier had most of the Capital going in the other direction and Bossy was facing nothing but net.
"I've seen Trots make good plays since the start of the year," Bossy said, "but that was a new one. He faked the whole team, moving behind the net, and gave me the backhand pass. I shot right away, without looking, but I could have taken a lot of time."
"Trottier made a great play," said Washington defenseman Robert Picard, who had a better view than Bossy. "Mike isn't the best skater, he doesn't carry the puck all the way, but he's doing something right. He got 300-odd goals in junior and I saw a lot of them, too."
Bossy's second goal, which made it 3-0 came on a brilliant fake around defenseman Gord Smith, followed by a rifle shot past the glove of Wolfe, making his first start since Jan. 18.
Guy Charron averted a shutout and ended goalie Chico Resch's zero string against the Capitals at 151 minutes, 43 seconds. Bob Sirois knocked the puck away from defenseman Bob Lorimer and Charron shoved it pase Resch at 5:09 of the second period. It was Charron's 21st goal, but little consolation for the Capitals, now 9-32-11 this season and never a winner over the Islanders.
Tonight the Capitals try again in Buffalo (WTO-1500 at 7) and at least they won't be looking at Bossy. Just Gil Perreault, Martin, Don Luce and friends.