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Lightning in shock, disbelief


© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001

BRANDON -- When Lightning players reported for the first day of training camp Tuesday, a major concern was getting through the 3-mile run scheduled for later in the day.

By the time morning workouts at the Ice Sports Forum were over, their thoughts had turned to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

"When you think about it, so many lives, so many families, it's a horrible feeling," defenseman Pavel Kubina said. "I feel so sorry for those people. It's tough to talk about it. Hockey is definitely second today."

"I'm in disbelief," goaltender Kevin Weekes said. "Obviously, I feel shocked but also very sad for the innocent people involved and who were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Players came off the ice asking for details. As the extent of the attacks became known, their reactions increased.

When right wing Martin St. Louis was told the two 110-story World Trade Center buildings had collapsed, his eyes widened.

"At that time I wasn't even thinking about (practice)," he said. "I was thinking of the innocent victims. You hear about this stuff and it makes you realize there are so many more important things in life than hockey. It makes you wonder what the world is coming to."

"I don't know what to say. I am absolutely shocked," coach John Tortorella said. "This is very minor what we're doing out here today."

General manager Rick Dudley said it best:

"It is a scary world."

KINGS: Garnet "Ace" Bailey, director of pro scouting, was one of 65 aboard one of the flights that crashed into the World Trade Center. Team spokesman Mike Altieri said Mark Bavis, an amateur scout for the Kings, also was aboard United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to hit the skyscrapers.

RANGERS: New York had been booked at the Marriott World Trade Center this week, a hotel in one of the towers. But the team, which planned to hold training camp at Chelsea Piers, changed hotels in May when it moved camp to Madison Square Garden.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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