Bruins, fans pay tribute to marathon victims
While one game cannot cure the ills that currently plague all of Boston, Wednesday night’s matchup between the Bruins and Sabres comes pretty close to helping the people of Boston resume a sense of normalcy. While the game itself was disappointing in that the Bruins (once again) blew a third period lead and lost 3-2 in overtime, only one word can describe the pregame ceremony: perfect.
While fear has struck into the heart of Boston, it was absent in Wednesday night’s game at the TD Garden. There was increased security for fans and no bags were allowed into the rink, a painful reminder of what had happened earlier that week, but once the game got going, it was back to business for Bruins fans. Aside from changing the traditional “Let’s go Bruins” chant to “Let’s go Boston” and adding a “We are Boston” chant, the fans were just as loud and invested in the action on the ice as ever.
“You try and live your life in peace,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “And there’s people that are trying to disrupt that. And the people that are trying to live their life in peace are all going to stick together. And that’s what we have here.’’
A moment of silence was issued as the TD Garden went silent out of respect to the victims of the attack. After the moment had passed, a photo montage from the marathon set to the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips was put on the big screen.
The crowning moment was when Rene Rancourt stepped onto the ice to sing the national anthem. It started out like any other rendition, but after a few verses Rancourt gestured to the fans for them to finish the song, as the TD Garden sang “The Star Spangled Banner” in unison.
Rancourt has sung the national anthem at the Garden for 35 years, and he told WEEI radio that Wednesday night’s version sung by the 17,565 in the stands will be the most memorable moment of his time at the Garden.
“That is No. 1,” he said. “It’s a tough call choosing between this night, last night, and Game 6 of the Vancouver series [in 2011]. But I’d have to say, this is really a time where you feel you’re a part of history. It’s bigger than your ego. Because I’m always saying that anthem singers should really focus in on the words. That way the feeling comes across. It shouldn’t be an ego situation. This was totally unique.
“This was a first for me. I’ll tell you, I’m speechless for the first time in my life.”
Rancourt wasn’t the only one to feel the emotion, as the anthem proved to be quite a moment for the fans and players alike. Winger Brad Marchand said
“The whole time, we were fighting back tears,” Marchand said. “It was tough to stay focused on the game.”
The only way to cap it off would have been a Bruins win, but the Sabres were able to squeeze out a win via a shootout in overtime. Still, Bruins fans and the Bruins themselves showed that we are Boston strong and that the people of Boston will rise up from this tragedy.
“To see how everyone was reacting and watching that video was obviously very emotional for everyone. You really see why Boston is such a special city,” Marchand said after the game. “How everyone has come together and really united through all this, and tonight is another example of it. You’re around thousands of people you don’t know, but it’s like we’re all one. It was special there tonight and very emotional.”