Flames prospect Gaudreau recalls eerie scene after Boston Marathon bombings
Boston College player had friends cross the finish line just 20 minutes before tragedy
Boston Bruins players, including defenceman Dennis Seidenberg (44), stand next to a ribbon projected onto the ice at TD Garden in Boston on Wednesday. In the city’s first major sporting event since Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, fans and players participated in a moving pre-game ceremony.
Photograph by: Elise Amendola, AP
Hurricane Sandy, that had been close enough. New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau knows plenty of people who were affected by October’s superstorm.
But Monday? Gaudreau had friends cross the Boston Marathon’s finish line only 20 minutes before the explosions.
Chilling to think about.
“Luckily, they got through there quick enough,” Gaudreau, a sophomore at Boston College and a prospect of the Calgary Flames, said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m thankful that everyone was out of there.”
Not everyone, of course, was so fortunate.
Gaudreau says he didn’t hear about the killer bombs till mid-afternoon. The news was devastating.
“Everyone went back to their (dorm) rooms,” said the 19-year-old, adding that BC is nine kilometres from Copley Square. “Then it kind of got . . . just silence on campus. You didn’t really see anyone walking around or anything like that. It kind of went from being a big festival and watching people run and a whole bunch of runners running . . . to no one on the streets and stuff like that. It was pretty weird to see how fast people got off the streets.
“During that day, there was a tonne of people crying.”
To see a well-known part of the city cast in such a tragic light is jarring, too, says Gaudreau.
“Maybe a week, two weeks, ago, a lot of guys on my team and me had dinner down there,” he said. “(On television) just to see people lying around, blood everywhere, debris. It’s crazy just to think that you were there a week ago . . . and now there’s people dying there. A pretty scary scene. Tough to see people getting hurt.”
BUILDING BLOCKS FOR THE FUTURE
This is an important part of the program, according to Bob Hartley.
The Flames coach is convinced that getting youngsters — as many as possible — into the NHL groove right now fast-tracks their progress. These games are far from meaningless.
“It’s another normal step, like going from peewees to bantam, from bantams to midget,” said Bob Hartley. “Unfortunately for many of those kids, they waste one or two training camps finding out about the NHL. So in our situation right now, we’re trying to avoid this. We’re trying to give them a taste, to give them facts, that they can take back.”
Getting extended work these days are the likes of Max Reinhart, Sven Baertschi, Roman Horak, Ben Hanowski. And don’t be surprised to see defenceman Mark Cundari — acquired in the Jay Bouwmeester trade and currently with Abbotsford — skating very soon for the Flames.
“We can sit back, once we do our exit meetings,” said Hartley, “and say, ‘OK, look at this situation and how you reacted. And this situation, and how you reacted,’ then (tell them about) the next steps for the summer. For us, we can help them. It’s not only on the players to be ready for training camp. We have a responsibility. They’re our kids. All the info that we’re getting . . . is going to help us get them ready for next year’s training camp.”
HANOWSKI’S CHOPPED LOCKS SHIPPED
As planned, newcomer forward Ben Hanowski chopped off his flowing mane and shipped it to Locks Of Love, a foundation that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged kids suffering from medical hair-loss.
“And it was a big shipment,” said Hartley, chuckling. “It wasn’t like a little plain envelope. It was a big, big box. Probably cargo. And it’s for a great cause. You know what? He’s a great young man. He’s been with us for just a few days and already he’s feeling comfortable.
“A very mature young man. He’s been fun to be around.”
FLAMES INK BERRA TO ONE-YEAR DEAL
The Flames signed Swiss goalie Reto Berra, 26, to an entry-level deal Wednesday.
For Berra, part of the return from St. Louis in the Jay Bouwmeester swap, the one-year contract is worth $1.38 million, including bonuses.
Originally a 2006 fourth-round pick of the Blues, the six-foot-four netminder finished his season with Biel of Switzerland’s National League A, posting a 3.01 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
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