Whatever you think of Bruce Boudreau, he will forever be a part of DC hockey lore. He transformed the Washington Capitals into contenders, won the Jack Adams his first year behind the bench, and he invigorated a languid fan base. He had stories; amazing hockey stories. After talking with Caps radio man John Walton, I’m ready to share one of Bruce’s most legendary moments.
On December 26, 2006, Bruce Boudreau — a few months after his first AHL championship and exactly a full year before he was permanently hired as head coach of the Washington Capitals — jumped onto a bus with the Hershey Bears for a 220-mile jaunt up I-95 to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Bears had Christmas off and were forced to travel the day of the game. The drive usually takes about three and a half hours.
The team ran into post-holiday traffic, pushing their arrival time back a few hours. When the Bears finally arrived at the Arena at Harbor Yard, they had just 20 minutes before warm-ups. As each player grabbed his gear off the bus, they ran to the locker room. Boudreau, who always preferred the comfort of his track-suit on the bus, grabbed his only companion, a suit bag, and headed inside to the visiting team’s coaches’ office along with assistant Bob Woods and general manager Doug Yingst.