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Boston Marathon bombings hit home for current, ex-Pens

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 11:46 p.m.

Craig Adams has The Old Towne on his mind. He was not alone among the Penguins on Tuesday.

Adams, a Harvard graduate and husband to a Boston-bred wife, did not know anybody killed or hurt in the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday. That did not make accepting the circumstances any easier.

“It's hard because the Marathon has always been kind of like the ushering in of spring there — everyone gets outside, is having a big party, everyone from all over the world is there and having a good time,” Adams said Tuesday. “(Tragedy) is not what you usually associate with the Marathon.”

Adams and teammate Brooks Orpik, who played at Boston College, said they have attended past Boston Marathons, near the area where the bombs exploded.

“It's kind of a big drinking day for everybody,” Orpik said. “I have some friends who were drinking in a bar across the street (Monday), but that was as close as anybody I knew.”

Orpik and his wife live in Boston during the offseason. He also did not know anybody impacted by the bombings.

Penguins CEO David Morehouse, who has ties to Boston from his political days, said his friends escaped unharmed.

That was also true for family members of Tom Fitzgerald, the Penguins' assistant to the general manager, who lives in Boston.

Phil Bourque, a former Penguins player and current broadcaster for the Penguins Radio Network, said his father, per tradition, spent Marathon Week in Florida to avoid the influx of visitors to Boston and surrounding areas.

Bourque was raised in Chelmsford, Mass., about 40 minutes outside of Boston.

Ryan Whitney, a former Penguins defenseman playing with Edmonton, reported his loved ones were fine. Whitney was born in Boston and played at Boston University.

Another former Penguins defenseman, Sergei Gonchar, played for Boston and spent Monday preparing for Wednesday game between his Ottawa Senators and the Bruins.

The Senators were at their team hotel getting ready to leave for TD Garden when the game was canceled. Gonchar followed the events on local TV stations in his hotel room.

“It was (strange),” Gonchar said in a text message. “Terrible day.”

The Penguins are scheduled to play the Bruins at TD Garden on Friday night in the second professional sporting event since the marathon bombings.

Team officials said they expected the game to be played, and the Penguins did not expect to change their travel plans. They will leave Thursday and return to Pittsburgh late Friday night.

Majority co-owner Mario Lemieux, who often has joined the club on trips to Boston, did not say Tuesday whether he would make the trip.

Back in Pittsburgh after about a month away — including an appearance at Michael Jordan's charity golf tournament in Las Vegas — Lemieux, too, said his friends in the Boston area were safe.

Lemieux said his daughter is enrolled at a Boston-area university and was set to return from spring break Monday afternoon. However, her flight from Pittsburgh was delayed nearly four hours because air traffic into Boston's Logan International Airport temporarily was halted.

Orpik said Boston and its citizens will “bounce back” from this tragedy.

“It's a city that prides itself on its toughness,” Orpik said. “Boston will be all right.”

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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