For Penguins, bombs shatter good memories, too

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Boylston Street.

Just the name elicits a reaction for those who are from or have ties to Boston. It is in a popular area, a place to hang out, be with friends.

But the emotional attachment changed dramatically after bombings Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on that street. So it is with some of the Penguins.

"Abe and Louie's Steakhouse is right where it happened, right on Boylston, and that's where [my wife and I] got engaged," center Joe Vitale, who played at nearby Northeastern University, said after practice Tuesday.


• Game: Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens, Consol Energy Center.

• When: 7:08 p.m.

• TV: Root Sports.

"We have the most amazing memories on that street -- shopping, sitting outside. This puts a huge dent in those [memories]. Right now, I can't think of that place without thinking about what just happened. It kind of overshadows all those memories."

The bombings, which killed three and injured more than 170, are under investigation but have raised security concerns for large sports events elsewhere and here. For example, the Ottawa Senators announced that they were adding 20 security members to their game-night staff.

And, shortly after that, the Penguins announced they are increasing security for their games and all events at Consol Energy Center, beginning with the game tonight against Montreal.

"For obvious reasons, we do not want to identify all of those measures, but we are asking fans to arrive a bit earlier for games and events," the club said in a statement.

Penguins forward Craig Adams supported the team's decision.

"I think it's the right thing to do," he said. "Hopefully, the fans agree, and they understand that it might take a little longer to get into the game [tonight], but you want to be safe."

Adams played at Harvard and called Boston "sort of like a second home for me." He's familiar with the marathon, held on Patriots Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts.

"The marathon is like the ushering in of spring there," Adams said. "Everybody gets outside and has a big party. It's people from all over the world, and everyone's having a good time."

Until this year.

Adams said he knew some runners Monday. He said they are safe, although they "were there minutes before that happened. It's surreal." He has been in the area where the bombings were many times.

"My father-in-law used to crown the winners, so we were right there at the finish line and at the podium," he said.

Vitale and his wife have a friend who runs in the marathon and raises money for charity. She finished before the blasts and notified people through social media that she was OK.

The Boston Bruins postponed their game Monday night against Ottawa until April 28. The Penguins are scheduled to play Friday in Boston. There has been no indication that that might change.

"I don't think I'm worried," Vitale said of playing in Boston that soon after the bombings. "The police department in Boston is one of the best in the country. I think we'll be OK."

The incident made the Penguins think about safety regardless of the city.

"You do, especially when something like that happens," winger Pascal Dupuis said. "I know they're doing everything in their power around here -- the team and our staff and people in Pittsburgh -- to make sure our fans and everybody around the league and the game is safe."

Dupuis said nothing changed for the players Tuesday, in terms of security when they practiced, but they were still affected.

"We saw what happened," he said. "All of our thoughts and prayers are with all the people in Boston."

Coach Dan Bylsma said the idea of violence at sports events has been in the back of his mind since Sept. 11, 2001, but what happened in Boston went even beyond that notion. He thought about it in far-reaching human terms.

"The feeling when you watched was a sense of a loss of the freedom that you enjoy. ... It's unnerving," he said.

Thinking about tragedy and public safety usually are too somber for Patriots Day in Boston. At least, until now.

"It was always a fun day, especially with all the college students there," said Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who played at Boston College and spends his offseasons in that city. "It was just kind of a big drinking day for everybody."

Now Patriots Day has a new meaning.

"Everyone is kind of sharing the same feelings, I'm sure," Orpik said, noting that he "had some friends drinking at a bar right across the street, but that was as close as anyone I knew was."

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For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at Shelly Anderson: and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published April 17, 2013 4:00 AM


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