Monday – curiously long after winning the Stanley Cup, knowing that the team in question did not need to wait for a road trip to Washington – the Capitals went to the White House. The most notable was the one who did not make the trip.
There was also no Devante Smith-Pelly, who is currently in the AHL, but would have been invited because the Caps were inviting all those who were part of the championship lineup last spring, including those who are evolving now for other teams. One of the two black players in this formation (the other was Madison Bowey, now in Detroit, who also did not make the move), Smith-Pelly was clearly voiced even before the Capitals won the Cup last June. During the final, Smith-Pelly said about Donald Trump: "What he's saying is perfectly racist and sexist. Some of the things he said are rather crude. I do not do too much politics, so I do not know all his other points of view, but I absolutely do not share his rhetoric. [A White House visit] did not come here, but I think my decision is already made. "
There was no Brett Connolly, who said he was refusing to visit the president because he wanted to support his friend, Smith-Pelly. "It's about knowing what's right and what's wrong," Connolly explained.
There was no guardian Braden Holtby, who with his wife was active in LGBTQ causes. Holtby did not mention Trump by name at the announcement of his decision, but was crystal clear. "My family and I believe in a world where human beings are treated with respect, regardless of their stature, in which you were born" he said. "You are asked to choose which side you are on, and I think it's pretty clear which side I am on."
But many other Caps players made the move.
Rather than a full ceremony, the team opted for a relatively unobtrusive visit. Accompanied by their owner, Ted Leonsis, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, they toured the White House for 45 minutes without the presence of the media, before bursting into the Oval Office to present Trump with a jersey. No. 45 and a gold staff carrying his name. .
Trump was extremely Trump. Of Washington Post:
During the light ceremony on Monday afternoon, Trump marveled at the size of Russian captain Alex Ovechkin and then listed his many professional accomplishments, adding that his daughter Ivanka is "a friend and a great fan". He distinguished team owner Ted Leonsis – "A man who has enjoyed great success in his life," said Trump – the 20-point American defenseman John Carlson in the playoffs and the four-pass match Evgeny Kuznetsov's center in game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, although he fought with the pronunciation of that of Kuznetsov. first name.
At the request of Trump, Alex Ovechkin made a brief speech:
"There are a lot of guys who share a lot of the same values as [Holtby] Brooks Orpik, a veteran, told reporters a few days ago, "but they are going to the White House and this is not an endorsement of anyone in the office." It is understandable that some players have been torn. When you are a young athlete, you dream of a visit to the White House, but as she is far away, your dream probably does not include a specific president. The historic building, the tour, the invitation are all important elements of what matters: the championship. Most professional athletes never have that chance. Of those who do, most have only one chance. I think so is It is possible for some of them to separate man from this honor, not least because most hockey players are not American and many white athletes in general are able to ignore politics almost completely. It is therefore possible to understand why some players left, while admiring those who did not.
Orpik says it will not be a bone of contention in the locker room. "We are human beings," he said, "and people share different opinions and political opinions. It's not different from others. People who are friends vote for different people.
However, it was never possible to forget who was president on Monday. No other president would have wished a successful hockey team to say, "Good luck. We are going to watch. Everyone, get the same number of goals. "