Bobo Carpenter has select memories from 2003 when his father, Bobby Carpenter, won the Stanley Cup as the assistant coach for the Devils.
The now 21-year-old was 7 at the time and remembers being on the ice with his family, seeing the Cup up close. But in every photo Carpenter has from that night which includes himself and the Cup, he’s not smiling. That’s something he said he hopes to change someday.
“And I always remember the story — it always comes up every ounce in a while,” Carpenter told The Post last week at the first day of Devils training camp (the undrafted Boston University player also has an invite to the Islanders’ development camp). “I was in [then-head coach] Pat Burns’ office with my dad, and it was after they won. And I was sitting in Pat Burns’ chair and I guess I turned and said, ‘When’s the next round?’
“Pat Burns never laughed so hard and my dad always gets a kick out of the story because they were such close friends.”
Bobby Carpenter said he knows his son’s confusion stemmed from the fact he had been traveling back and forth between Anaheim and New Jersey for the series and was speaking from exhaustion. Both of Bobby’s children, Bobo and Alex, were able to attend every game. And when their mom, Julie, was too tired to make the drive from their home in Albany, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur kindly lent his limo service to ensure that both the Carpenter children would be able to attend the games with his children.
But the elder Carpenter, now head coach of Chinese team Kunlun Red Star of the KHL, recalls a better story of his son from that 2003 Stanley Cup final. After defeating the Ducks in New Jersey the first two games, Game 6 saw Brodeur let up five goals and eventually get pulled before Corey Schwab, who often acted as goalie with the kids of his fellow players, finished out the 5-2 loss.
Bobo and Alex were roaming around the facility after the game and ended up on the ramp to the rink, heading toward then-general manager Lou Lamoriello and the team.
“Pat Burns says, ‘Look at that, your family is coming up.’ And I was like, ‘Oh no, Lou is not going to like this, they’re not supposed to be near us,’ ” Bobby, 54, recalled in a phone call with The Post. “Bobo is smiling and laughing, and Pat’s like, ‘Holy s—, look at your kid, he’s laughing. Lou’s going to kill us!’ And Lou sees him and says to him, ‘What are you laughing at? We lost.’
“And Bobo says ‘Yeah I know, but Schwabby got a shutout.’ ”
In that moment, Lamoriello and the rest of the team forgot about Brodeur’s performance and realized it wasn’t the end of the world if the star goalie had an off night. Bobby said a 7-year-old kid had given them all a different, much-needed point of view.
Carpenter now is chasing his own career in the NHL, after his invites to local team development camps with the Islanders and Devils. He has had one week off in between the two.
The 5-foot-11 left winger is coming off of his junior season at BU, where he served as assistant captain and registered a team-best 20 goals.
“Both teams [Islanders and Devils] are looking for hardworking players, I think that’s all around the league,” said Carpenter, who was the first player on the ice for the forwards practice Tuesday. “I think the Devils touch a bit more on brotherhood, which really is everything because you’re going out to war every night with the team. I really do like that.”
Carpenter’s sense of family within the Devils organization stems not just from their teachings during development camp, but in his father’s roots as a player and assistant coach.
Bobby played his final six seasons in the NHL with the Devils (1993-99), including winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, and went on to win the Cup as assistant coach in 2000 and 2003. He also was the coordinator for player development for the Maple Leafs from 2009-15.
“It is pretty special [trying out for the Devils], it’s kind of weird seeing all the pictures of him on the walls and stuff,” Bobo, who grew up in Massachusetts, said. “I want to follow in his footsteps and hopefully get a couple of my own Cups to celebrate with him and return the favor for what he’s done for me.”
In 1981, Bobby made history as the first hockey player to jump from high school to the NHL when he was drafted third overall by the Capitals. With his son’s journey to the league vastly differing from his own, Bobby made sure Bobo knew that everyone’s path to the NHL isn’t always the same.
“There are kids that walk later than others, there are kids that walk earlier,” Bobby said. “I think in Bobo’s draft year, he might’ve been 5-foot-9 and maybe 170 pounds. So he wasn’t a strong man yet and I think that’s why he slipped through the draft.”
Now that his son stands 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, the former NHLer thinks the draft would go differently if it were this year. That said, Bobby also believes going undrafted has affected Bobo positively.
“I think not getting drafted made him hungrier, it made him want to prove some things to some people,” Bobby said. “And I think it was the motivation that helped him become the player that he did. There’s no question about that.”