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In wake of Rolling Stone controversy, Bruins revel in role as supporters of Boston Marathon bombing victims

07.22.13 at 12:37 pm ET
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While Rolling Stone magazine waxes poetically over the tragic downfall of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the victims from the Boston Marathon bombing continue to heal. Families that lost loved ones — like the relatives of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who will never have the chance to celebrate 9, or the Campbell family, which was planning a 30th birthday party for beloved Krystle — are forced to exist for the rest of their lives missing an integral piece of their hearts.

Paul Norden waved a Boston strong flag alongside his brother, J.P., as the two Boston Marathon bombing survivors were honored before a Bruins playoff game in May. (AP)

Janet Reitman’s story from the Aug. 1 edition of Rolling Stone attempts to humanize an alleged murderer, detailing the process of how a seemingly normal person becomes a terrorist. Though Reitman was able to detail Tsarnaev’s smooth ways with his female classmates in high school, a glaring absence in the story is any mention of the victims. In addition to an outrageously callous cover designed solely to sell magazines, Reitman’s story neglected to express any sorrow for the victims and their families that still suffer — with burns, broken hearts and lost limbs — as a direct result of the brutality allegedly caused by the subject of her very story.

The Bruins were the first team to play in Boston after the city ceased its lockdown. A matinee hockey game with the Penguins ensued on Saturday, April 20, mere hours after the suspect was captured by another set of heroes. Thanks to the work of the Watertown Police Department, also conspicuous by their absence in the Rolling Stone story, Tsarnaev was unable to cause any more carnage. From the moment the puck dropped at the Garden, Boston’s professional hockey team captured the hearts of this city and, in its own way, helped the victims feel whole again.

Jarrod Clowery, a 35-year-old who watched the Marathon with a group of friends from Stoneham, had his hands and legs burned and, in some places, even shredded at the hands of the Marathon bombers’ madness. During his still-ongoing recovery process, the first time he felt like himself took place at a Bruins game.

“I had the chance to be flag captain in Game 7 against Toronto,” said Clowery. “We watched in the Heineken board room but we went out in the stands after the third [Bruins] goal. I was actually just fresh out of the hospital, so I had a tough time that night. But the whole overtime, I was normal. It was like I never was involved in a bombing. I was out with all the other fans in the stands and my adrenaline was pumping. Who cares if they lost the Cup? You can be proud to be a Bruins fan.”

Unlike many of his friends, Clowery is fortunate not to have lost any limbs during the explosion. Friends from Stoneham — Marc Fucarile and brothers J.P. and Paul Norden — lost limbs. Fucarile, who has been through 15 visits to the operating room and nearly 50 operations, had his right knee amputated above the knee. He also suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns over half his body, as well as two fractures in his left leg. Shrapnel from the bomb literally littered his body. The Norden brothers each lost a leg in the bombing. Their bodies also were ravaged by burns and shrapnel.

“I was hopping the railing when I heard the first bomb go off,” Clowery recalled. “I told everybody, ‘Get in the street, get in the street!’ I was three feet from the bomb. The bomb blew under me, filling me from my ass to my ankles in shrapnel but, obviously, leaving me whole. The others were still flat-footed on the ground. That’s why they took the brunt of the damage. But let me tell you something: My friends Marc, J.P., and Paul are pretty big guys. They saved people’s lives by taking that blast. And now they need help.”

Rolling Stone may be focused on the glamorization of a reputed terrorist, but the Bruins took a great deal of pride in representing and honoring those who were injured or killed during the bombings.

“Obviously there’s nothing anybody can do to reverse the events of a couple of months ago,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It doesn’t fix the things or the people that have been lost. That will never be fixed. At the same time, you have to try to heal. As much as the city itself has been touched by that, so have we as a team. I’ve known for a long time, that’s all we talked about in the dressing room. It really hit us hard.”

Julien understood that his team only played a small part in the healing of the city, but he still lamented the fact that the Bruins could not deliver a Stanley Cup to bring a permanent smile to Boston.

“The best way we thought we could cheer the area was to win a Stanley Cup,” said Julien, “and that’s what hurts the most. We had more reasons than just ourselves to win the Cup.”

Watertown Police Captain Raymond Dupuis, a 30-year veteran on the force, also took pride in the Bruins’ run.

“The Bruins made a big impact on us,” Dupuis said. “They called up and said they wanted to wear our hats during the warmups. We had some hats made with their logo and we were all ecstatic to see the Bruins warming up wearing Watertown Police hats. We noticed Andrew Ference later with the hat on, and then David Krejci after the game with the hat on. Everybody was so proud the Bruins would wear them.”

Dupuis, one of the many heroes in the fight against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, even saw similarities between his force and the local hockey team.

“During the shootout, an officer yelled out to one of our sergeants, ‘Get back! Get back!’ And he said, ‘Get back? I’m too far away now, I need to get closer.’ It was the same thing with the Bruins. They fought to the end. They didn’t give up, and they showed great heart. They fight you all the way.”

Though the city was quick to fall in love with the B’s during their playoff run, the players were careful to note that they were only playing a game while so many others — the victims, the first-responders, the doctors and the nurses, to name just a few — were the real heroes.

“It’s tough to compare what we do with those tragedies,” said Shawn Thornton. “I don’t want to take anything away from what happened. We were aware that if we could take people’s minds off a tragic event for the little while we were on the ice, we were happy to do that, [but] we were just out there playing a game. That is real-life stuff. It’s tough to talk about. Guys wanted to do what they could to help. Boston is the adopted home now for most of us. Whatever we could do, we were happy to do it.”

Chris Kelly and Tuukka Rask echoed Thornton’s sentiment.

“Boston’s a great city and we all live here,” said Kelly. “This is home for us. We’re affected like other people were, and we wanted to do what we could to help the city.”

“We know people watch us, people like us, people cheer for us, so we want to be worth it,” said Rask. “We made it a good run, but it’s just disappointing because we couldn’t get the Cup home and show it to the fans.”

“Even if it was just putting a smile on someone’s face for five minutes, we wanted to do that,” continued Kelly. “We really wanted to win a championship for this city and help the city, even it was just a little bit. A little bit would have meant a lot to us. It’s a great city.”

Sometimes a phrase is repeated so much that the words lose their original meaning. Boston Strong means to make Boston stronger, which men and women all across the Commonwealth have achieved through their acts of courage. The Bruins embraced their role as the city’s defensemen and took great pride in helping restore normalcy in any way possible. Much deeper than playing hockey, they made this city stronger. The Bruins are just one piece of Boston that has defended its victims and will continue to do so, even if Rolling Stone is too tone deaf to understand.

For those looking to contribute to some of the people mentioned in this article affected by the Marathon bombings, here are two links:

The Marc Fucarile Benefit Page

The Norden Brothers Benefit Fundraiser

Read More: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, J.P. Norden, Jarrod Clowery, Paul Norden Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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