By Joe Haggerty
PHILADELPHIA Sometimes even in the insulated, self-obsessed world of professional sports there are appropriate times to take a break for a dose of reality.One of those rare nights took place on Sunday night into Monday morning as news practically shot out of a cannonball that a team of CIA and Navy SEAL operatives took out Osama bin Laden in his hideaway compound in Pakistan. The media was talking about it, players were talking about, it and the coaches were talking about it as bits of information mounted. People began to wonder what it will be like when Lauren Hart sings God Bless America along with the late Kate Smith prior to tonights Game 2 at the Wells Fargo Center, and spontaneous USA chants erupted at Sunday night sporting events.Obviously most of the Bruins players are Canadian-born and prefaced any statements with that little bit of info, but many guys like Andrew Ference have planted roots in the Boston area and have become friends with many Bs fans actively serving their country and joining in the hunt for bin Laden over the last 10 years.Ference said his mind was on those people Monday morning, and on others who wouldnt be at rest until justice was served with the terrorist leader that set the 911 tragedy in motion.I texted my friend Lucas right away and said did you guys get him because theyve all been watching Bruins games over there, said Ference, referencing a US Army Ranger hes befriended from Massachusetts. Weve been keeping tabs with them, and I know hed been out for a couple of days because he told me they were going to go out hunting for bad guys.
I texted him right away. He was excited because he said there were a lot of sleepless nights searching for Bin Laden. Im really proud of those guys, you know? I didnt feel it myself, but knowing them and how they put their butts on the line for us. To get a victory like that is pretty cool.With that in mind in these historic last couple of days, on to the links: ESPN.coms Scott Burnside with an excellent column depicting the mixed emotions of Ace Baileys family members after hearing that Osama bin Laden had been killed and Baileys death on one of the doomed flights to Los Angeles had finally been met with some level of justice. Did you know that goaltenders are superstitious? Yeah, not a surprise but these stories are always a lot of fun. Interesting story about Zdeno Chara getting a memo from the NHL after he was spotted sipping a Coca Cola to get a little sugar and caffeine rush during Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens. A Wayne Gretzky rookie card gets almost 100,000 at an auction held for collectors with a whole lotta dough. Youve heard of the Colin Campbell Wheel of Justice? Well, heres the game of Peter Laviolette goalie roulette in Philadelphia from the Stanley Cup of Chowder. Where it stops nobody knows. The NHL is cracking down the antics of the Green Men. For shame, Gary Bettman. One of the best things about the NHL is that they very rarely get into the Fun Police zone normally inhabited by the NFL. Retired Bruins great Bob Sweeney speaks with WEEI about his familys feelings after hearing bin Laden was killed a relevant subject given that Sweeneys sister-in-law was a flight attendant on one of the doomed flights. Retired FDNY member Steve Boehm also goes onto WEEI and gives a moving account of his feelings on a historically significant day around the United States and specifically for the New York City area that was impacted so brutally by the World Trade Center disaster.TSN reporter Darren Dreger has the account of the San Jose Sharks trying to get into Jimmy Howards head by continuing to spray him with ice chips during their playoff series. A nice piece by RLD Hockeys Ryan Porth on Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne dominating in the Preds series against the Vancouver Canucks.