Boudreau's connection to Ace Bailey, 9/11

May, 2, 2011
5/02/11
4:22
PM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At some point later today, or maybe Tuesday, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau will take a moment and reflect on his emotional response to the death of Osama bin Laden.

But in the hours after the Capitals' 3-2 overtime loss against the Tamp Bay Lightning, Boudreau said he would let the rest of the world digest the news.

"I was only thinking about the game. Believe me, I'm conscientious about what went on, but I'm worried about the game," Boudreau said.

He said he didn't see any of the spontaneous celebrations in the D.C. streets as he was driving home after the game that saw the Caps fall into a 2-0 series deficit. "No, I didn't know anything about it at that point," he said.

Although Boudreau's focus is entirely on his team's playoff struggles now, he will forever have a strong connection to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

At the time, Boudreau was coach of the Los Angeles Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. He had been scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Sept. 11 along with scouts Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis. Then-Kings coach Andy Murray wanted Boudreau to fly out early, so he left a day early.

In his book, "Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer," Boudreau described trying to get Bailey, a close friend, to fly out with him, but the cost of changing the flight was significant, so Bailey kept his original itinerary. Bailey and Bavis were killed when United Airlines Flight 175 was crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

In an interview with ESPN.com on Monday, Bailey's widow, Katherine, described Boudreau as being "a pretty special guy." She was reminded of an incident Boudreau described in his book that involved her husband and Boudreau attending a wedding in Lake Placid.

Boudreau and Bailey arrived late at night and were ravenous. Thinking they were eating some popcorn, the two men began eating from a bowl of what turned out to be potpourri in the darkened hotel room. Katherine recalled talking to her husband on the phone while the two friends made their discovery, roaring with laughter.

Boudreau acknowledged that the news Sunday night made him think about that connection.

"I do, but I'm not thinking about that right now," Boudreau said. "I'll let the rest of the world think about it."

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