By about 4:30 Monday afternoon, Bruins players were reporting to Causeway Street, prepared as usual for a night’s work against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.
But within minutes, many were headed back out of the Garden, informed by management once inside the dressing room that the game had been called off, just one of the many consequences of the fatal bombing earlier in the afternoon at the finish of the Boston Marathon.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Bruins organization are with the city of Boston and all those affected by today’s tragedy,’’ team president Cam Neely said in a release issued just before 6 p.m.
No makeup date for the game was announced. It is possible, though not likely, that the game won’t be rescheduled, provided the outcome has no consequence on the NHL’s final standings. However, given how tight the standings are, the odds are in favor of a makeup, possibly Sunday, April 28. Both clubs are off that day, each of them scheduled to wrap up their seasons that weekend.
Earlier Monday afternoon, some 30-60 minutes before the players began to straggle in, there was no immediate sign that the game would be postponed.
A visitor to the Garden box office at 4 p.m., a little more than an hour after the blasts, was told that the game was still on as scheduled.
Meanwhile, in the press room, many of the reporters who arrived in the building before 10 a.m. for the Bruins’ day-of-game workout continued to work on stories and prepare for the planned 7:05 puck drop. A couple of miles away, in and around the Marathon finish line, chaos was the order of the day — but time stood still inside the game-day time capsule of Causeway Street.
While the likes of Dougie Hamilton and Anton Khudobin filed out of the building, newcomer Jaromir Jagr was just arriving, a somewhat quizzical look on his face as he eyed the exiting players.
His teammates already had been told to go home, but Jagr wouldn’t be told the same, reportedly by general manager Peter Chiarelli, until he walked through the big black swinging doors to the dressing room.
Meanwhile, some 60 feet down the hallway, support staff could be seen loading Senators equipment bags onto skids that would transport them to the team bus on the opposite side of the building’s third floor.
At approximately 5:12 p.m., the Ottawa team bus slowly pulled away, the day’s light growing dimmer on the chilly, somber afternoon.
“We fully support the NHL’s decision to postpone tonight’s game,’’ the Senators team account tweeted.
Another official Ottawa team tweet noted, “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Ottawa Senators organization are with those people affected by today’s tragic events in Boston.’’
No Bruins were made available to the small press corps that remained in the building in the minutes before and after the players were told to go home.
A member of the media relations staff shooed members of the press away from the dressing room door and later closed two doors in the adjacent hallway, blocking reporters’ views of players as they arrived and departed.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask was willing to accommodate a reporter’s request to talk until the member of the media staff abruptly cut him off.
Neely’s statement was issued just prior to 6, and at 6:03 p.m., Matt Chmura, the club’s director of media relations, informed the few stragglers in the press room, “So, that’s it, we’re closing up here at 6:30.’’
Pedestrian traffic in and around the Garden was very light as 6:30 approached. Garden security members checked commuters’ bags as they made their way to trains headed north and west from North Station.
A reporter nodded in near silence as one security member peeked inside his three bags and politely said, “I doubt you have any bombs in there.’’