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Mike Bossy joins MSG as studio analyst for 'Hockey Night Live' and Islanders games

Mike Bossy will be an MSG analyst this

Mike Bossy will be an MSG analyst this season. Credit: AP, 1988

There is no road map for the upcoming Islanders season, so why not have a familiar face along to help navigate?

"It should be unusual," Mike Bossy said Monday about his new job at MSG as a studio analyst for "Hockey Night Live" and select Islanders games on MSG Plus. "It should be nostalgic, but on the other hand I believe it should be exciting, too. I guess it depends on how you look at it."

Bossy looks at it both ways.

As a member of the front office in sponsorship and fan development, he believes the current team is headed in the right direction and has a chance to return to the playoffs.

As a Hall of Famer and four-time Stanley Cup winner, he understands fans' emotions tied to the end of an era.

"I would have to imagine there will be some sadness for those people who have those great memories of the team to see the team leave," he said. "People ask me all the time: The team is moving, what do you think?

"The memories that I have, they're memories, in the sense that whether the Coliseum is here or not I still have those distinct memories of the Stanley Cups and the players that I played with."

The long looks back are sure to resonate more as the season winds down, but Bossy said "it should be fun."

"You combine the nostalgia with the fact we're hoping the team continues to progress, I think it should be full of surprises this year," he said.

Bossy, who splits his time at home in Montreal and working on Long Island, has extensive TV experience, but until now all of it was in Canada and most of it was in French.

So what will it be like being a regular on MSG's Saturday night hockey show, talking not only about the Islanders but - gasp! - the Rangers?

"Not unless I have to," he joked.

But seriously, he insisted he can discuss the Blueshirts fairly.

"I've always been, I feel, very objective in my comments," he said. "There might be some skirmishes with [former Ranger] Ron Duguay if I have to sit beside him on Saturday nights, but it will all be in fun and hopefully interesting."

Bossy would like nothing more than for the Islanders to improve enough to re-ignite their ancient battles with the Rangers, especially with the move to Brooklyn at hand.

"It was electric every time we went to the Garden or the Rangers came to the Coliseum. I think hockey in New York needs a rivalry like that again," Bossy said. "Not taking away anything from the other sports rivalries, but there was nothing like Islanders-Rangers back in the day. I'm anxious for those days to happen again, and if they do, being able to comment on it would be pretty cool."

At 57, Bossy said he "absolutely" has the aches and pains of an aging hockey player, especially in his knees and shoulders. But he said he had aches and pains when he was 17, too.

"So I really didn't think it was going to be any different," he said. "I thought, to be honest, I would feel worse than I do now."

Bossy expects to continue working with the franchise after the transition to Brooklyn, but the details of his role have not been worked out.

Will the move to Barclays Center work? He said the organization can set the stage off the ice, but the players must do their part by performing on it.

All that is a year in the future, though. For this season, Bossy said there is "no doubt" the appropriate way for the Islanders to say goodbye to the Coliseum would be with a playoff run.

"The best way to end this would be for it to be as exciting as back in the happy days, and there have been some great moments in this building, not necessarily just when I played," he said. "I saw this building two years ago when we played Pittsburgh in the playoffs and how playoff-starved the fans are here and they responded exceptionally well. They'd like nothing better than for this team to get into the playoffs and win a couple of series and hopefully get back where we once were."

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