This year’s Los Angeles Kings Fan Fest will take place on Sunday, which marks the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in Kings – not to mention United States – history. Two Kings scouts named Garnet “Ace” Bailey and Mark Bavis boarded an aircraft that was supposed to take them to Los Angeles for training camp but instead ended up being the second of two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Former Kings general manager Dave Taylor called it the toughest day he’s had in the hockey business and maybe the toughest day he’s ever experienced overall.
After all those years, the team still honors the memories of those two scouts in many ways. Players wear decals on their helmets to pay tribute to Bailey and Bavis while portraits of both front office members are displayed in the Kings’ offices. The team named their mascot Bailey in honor of Garnet “Ace” Bailey.
This year’s Hockey Fan fest event will take place tomorrow, so it makes sense that the event will honor their memories and benefit charitable causes.
This year, the Kings will hold their annual Hockey Fest fan event on Sept. 11. Proceeds from an autographed-jersey auction will go to benefit the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firefighters Fund and the day will start with a tribute to Bailey and Bavis.
The Los Angeles Times provides some more details about the charitable work that is being done in honor of Bailey and Bavis.
Inspired by love, the Bavises and Baileys determined to honor their lost loved ones. The Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation provides mentoring and college scholarships to kids. The Ace Bailey Foundation renovated the neonatal intensive care unit at the Floating Hospital for Children at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center and brightened the environment for families of ailing kids. Diminishing donations nearly closed the foundation in 2008, but Pothier, its executive director, and Katherine Bailey felt their work wasn’t done.
You can visit the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation here and the Ace Bailey Foundation by following this link. Bavis’ family is also pursuing a law suit against United Airlines, which you can read a little more about in this story.
While Sunday will bring back some painful memories for members of the Kings organization as well as people from around the world, it’s important to try to find ways to make positive things come from even the most negative moments. It seems like the Kings organization and the Bavis and Bailey families are doing their best to make that happen.
Here is a video tribute from the Kings.
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Bryan Rust is really having himself a series.
After opening the scoring in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, Rust took matters into his own hands after Jonathan Drouin evened the score for Tampa Bay, notching his second goal of the game — just 30 seconds after Drouin scored — to put Pittsburgh back out in front, 2-1.
Before digging into the Rust goal (posted above), let’s take a moment to appreciate Drouin’s snipe, one that whizzed by Pittsburgh netminder Matt Murray:
Now, back to Rust.
With that second goal he’s now racked up eight points for the playoffs, just three back of the 11 he put up over the course of the entire regular season. The former Notre Dame standout has become a major storyline, and now sits tied with Patric Hornqvist for the team lead in even-strength playoff goals.
Not bad for a guy that spent a fair chunk of the year in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, eh?
What an Eastern Conference Final for Bryan Rust.
Rust scored his second goal of the series — and third point in as many games — to open the scoring on Friday night, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead over the Lighting at Consol.
After scoring just 11 points during the regular season, Rust — in just his second season at the NHL level — now has seven points in 16 playoff games, and has emerged as a vital bottom-six contributor in the process.
Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin notched assists on Rust’s goal, which came early in the second period. The Pens out-shot the Bolts 8-5 in the first period, but were unable to get one past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Oh, and speaking of Kunitz, he’s also produced extremely well in this series — he now has six points in his last five games.
As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.
Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.
Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.
That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.
Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.
It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.
To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.
Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.
In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.
And then Stamkos took the warmup.
As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.
“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”
No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.