Bossy pots it and there’s no change to his face, he just skates off to a couple of shoulder slugs from Trottier and Gilles. Then he rattles his stick down the wing and gets tied up in a three-banger against the boards. Slides past the the D and digs for those old moves. Channels Orr, bends his knee a bit before teeing up a ridge-heavy slapshot that would pierce the block of a ’72 Pinto, fire and all, red lights echoing the sugar he lost in the first. Glances back to the goalie for the between-the-pads sign, waves it off, then gets his hip into the rookie who shoulda had his head up. “No warmbelt team will ever hoist it while I’m skating,” he says as he holds a bit of audience in his glove. We break with him as the goalie pads it, but damned if there wasn’t a floater of a rebound, the kind where the puck spins in a liminal state. Cheevers gloves it and Tony O butterflies it to the line while Orr’s taped-up knee becomes a sacred relic. Bossy frontarms a snapshot over the goalie’s glove before he tumbles to the ice, folded in half under Gretz’s skate, his back a rasp of tape flay. He goes out with nine fifty-goal tips, his broken back a map of the streets where kids play his tenth full, whole, and complete.
© Michael Gravel