Rangers' Gilroy, Boyle mourn Boston tragedy

Brian Boyle skates against Kris Letang #58 of Brian Boyle skates against Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during a game at Madison Square Garden. (Jan. 31, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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PHILADELPHIA -- Red-eyed and wistful, Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy came off the ice at Wells Fargo Center after practice yesterday morning trying to shake the memories of 9/11, which suddenly returned after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Gilroy, who grew up in North Bellmore and attended Boston University, said he had college friends working in the tents near the marathon's finish line who wound up treating some of the injured.

"I can't tell you how much we looked forward to the marathon," Gilroy said. "It was the best day in college, hockey season was over and everybody was outside, such a celebration . . . and now it's . . . terrible, it's devastating."

Gilroy first learned of Monday's events when his father, Frank, who had worked in Jersey City and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of the 9/11 chaos, texted him: "There was a bomb at the Boston Marathon."

"I was like, 'What are you talking about?' " said Gilroy, who then started making calls from his hotel room. "I couldn't get in touch with most of the people until later . . . What can you say? It brings you back, being from New York, right to 9/11 and all the people who lost people there. I'm speechless, just like I was that day."

Rangers forward Brian Boyle, who grew up in Hingham, Mass., attended Boston College and had brothers, sisters and cousins in the Boston area who are safe, had taken a nap and awoke to "a lot of buzzing on my phone, and before I could process it all, I heard the news. It was just like a bad dream, a nightmare."

Boyle said he had a "heavy heart for all the victims. I've never ran but went to school on [Commonwealth Avenue] and I've seen it all. Even before I went to school, you see what a wonderful day it is, just a cool event for the city, and it's a shame, it's hard to put into words what transpired there."

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