Pens' game against Bruins in Boston postponed
BOSTON — The Penguins went from locked down to postponed on Friday.
A game between the Penguins and Boston Bruins at TD Garden was postponed because of a manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday.
The Penguins and Bruins will try to play at TD Garden at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, though a statement from the NHL on Friday said that plan was “tentative.”
The Penguins were slated to play the Buffalo Sabres at Consol Energy on Saturday night. That game will be played Tuesday night.
Penguins forward Craig Adams, who played at nearby Harvard, described Friday as “surreal.” Coach Dan Bylsma said he did not “have a good description.”
Penguins players, coaches and staff were under lockdown at a hotel Friday in the Boston Common area of the city as federal, state and local authorities hunted for reportedly a Russian-born suspect whose older brother had been killed in a firefight early Friday morning.
The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, ethnic Chechen brothers who had lived in Dagestan, which neighbors Chechnya in southern Russia. They had been in the United States for about a decade, an uncle said, and were believed to be living in Cambridge, Mass.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the gunfight early Friday. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remained at large, forcing the lockdown of Boston and surrounding areas.
Authorities described him as having intentions of killing innocents.
Matt Talbot, a Penguins fan attending Rhode Island University, had paid more than $400 for two tickets to the Penguins-Bruins game. He awoke to televised reports of the gunfight and advice from a friend to “change plans.”
“That whole manhunt just changed everything,” said Talbot, 25, a native of Presque Isle, Maine. “I've been looking forward to the game, but I'm not about jeopardize my safety.”
Talbot said he would probably attend the Penguins-Bruins game Saturday.
Jamie Figueroa of Boston planned to take a Pittsburgh-based client to the game Friday night but advised the client to return to Pittsburgh.
Figueroa, who declined to provide his age, said he is a Bruins season-ticket holder. He attended a game against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night — the first professional sporting event in Boston after the marathon bombings.
“I can tell you that since everything happened on Monday the city has just been on edge. It's at the forefront of every conversation. Everyone's emotions are really raw, and a sporting event galvanizes the community together,” Figueroa said. “There was like a spirit out there that said, ‘We're not going to let this thing deter who we are, how we live.' The community came out to support our sports team as a family, and that poured out (Wednesday). It was a message delivered.”
Members of the Penguins organization awoke at their Boston hotel about 7 a.m. to televised messages of the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“The coaches got up early to prepare to go over to the rink. Three or four of us went out for a two-block walk to get coffee. We got the message not to go out while we were out,” Bylsma said. “It felt like 5 percent of the normal activity on Friday in Boston.
“Once we got into the coffee shop they got word and they were closing. We got back to the hotel with a sense this was not normal.”
Bruins coaches along with members of their and the Penguins' equipment staff were at TD Garden when law enforcement officials announced the lockdown. The Penguins' equipment staff arrived at the arena between 6 and 8 a.m.
Tom Fitzgerald, assistant to the general manager for the Penguins and a Boston native, transported team staffers from the arena back to the hotel around 9:30 a.m.
Transit in and around Boston was suspended by 8:30 a.m., though taxi service resumed before noon and flights continued to depart and arrive at Logan International Airport, which was operating under heightened security measures.
The Penguins and Bruins were scheduled to practice at TD Garden, but that was canceled around 9 a.m.
Penguins coaches and players gathered at a team hotel for breakfast but otherwise remained in their hotel rooms into the early afternoon. A team dinner was planned.
“It just seems sort of surreal,” Adams said. “Just being locked in the hotel, you're not out there on the streets or getting a feel. I'm assuming it's fairly deserted. I can see the Common from the window, mostly it's just police cars and big police trucks – just weird obviously.”
The Penguins' contingent arrived in Boston on Thursday evening after an afternoon practice in Pittsburgh. Their flight from Pittsburgh had been pushed back several hours because of security measures surrounding President Barack Obama's visit to Boston for a service Thursday.
Obama had departed Boston before the firefight, which killed one officer and severely injured another.
The events of this week have shaken locals, including those with Western Pennsylvania ties.
“I can't process what's happened this week,” said Alycia King, 21, a Kittanning native.
King said she moved to Dracut, Mass., on Dec. 30, 2012, for an internship at Southern New Hampshire University. She is on target for May graduation from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
“I just wish I could hug my parents back at home right now,” King said.