Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Sabres rookie defenseman Chad Ruhwedel has one more reason to be thankful for making the jump to the NHL.
Had Ruhwedel not elected to end his college career at UMass Lowell to sign with Buffalo last weekend, he would have likely spent Monday with his friends watching the marathon not far from the finish line where two bombs exploded.
"It's kind of hit me," Ruhwedel said, after practice Tuesday. "It's hard to think about sometimes: 'I could've been there.' Fortunately, I wasn't. And I'm really praying for everyone who was."
Ruhwedel said his friends were unhurt after being not far from where three people were killed and more than 170 wounded.
And he'll get an up-close reminder of what happened, as the Sabres are in Boston to play the Bruins tonight.
The game will be the first professional sporting event to take place in Boston since the bombings.
The Bruins' home game against the Senators on Monday night was postponed to April. 28. The NBA canceled the Celtics' home game Tuesday against Indiana. The Red Sox have left town to open a three-game series at Cleveland.
Ruhwedel's thoughts of making a homecoming have suddenly become secondary.
"Oh, that's not important to me. I just want to make sure everybody's OK down there," said the 22-year-old, who's played two games with the Sabres. "My homecoming is nothing compared to that."
Also placed on the back burner, for now, was talk of the Sabres continuing their late-season playoff push. Players and team officials were instead expressing sorrow, sympathy and dismay in the wake of the tragic events.
"Life's way more important than hockey," forward Nathan Gerbe said. "I think everyone in the world feels their pain. It's heartbreaking."