Of the 30-plus players in the Capitals’ locker room, only a handful were born in the United States and grew up here. So it’s understandable, especially after a painful Game 2 loss, that some didn’t feel a strong emotional connection to the news that 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden had been killed.
Overall, there were mixed reactions to the story that the whole world is talking about. Even for hockey players with tunnel vision on this series with the Lightning, “It’s one of those things you’re gonna hear about it no matter what,” defenseman John Carlson said.
Carlson grew up in New Jersey but was just 11 years old when the September 11 attacks occurred.
“I’m not much of a politician or anything, but it seems like a pretty big feat for the country,” Carlson said. “People certainly are celebrating.”
Bruce Boudreau has a special connection to those attacks. As coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, he was set to be on United flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles for Kings training camp, but the team changed his flight to Sept. 10 because of a pre-camp dinner and meeting. L.A. scouts Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis were on that flight that went into the World Trade Center.
Boudreau said he was “conscientious” about what happened but is concentrated on hockey. He’s not even reflecting on his place in the story.
“I’m not thinking about that right now,” the Caps’ coach said. “I’ll let the rest of the world think about it.”
Some of his players were thinking about it as they got home Sunday night.
“You kinda forget about the game for a bit. It’s pretty drastic news, that’s for sure,” forward Jason Chimera said. “I remember [9/11] vividly. I was in Canada at the time but you kinda were just in shock and awe at what happened. Your hearts went out to the families and kinda hopefully that brings a little bit of peace to those people.”
Veteran right wing Mike Knuble was born in Toronto but grew up in Michigan. He has worn “USA” on his chest in international competition, including most recently at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. He considers himself an American and called it a “pretty substantial evening.”
“It was certainly a moment that I think a lot of us will remember, in your life when you found out this event,” Knuble said. “Kind of puts things in perspective when you see the families talking about closure, nine, 10 years of agony and finally things finally being closed up.”