Though it’s been what’s seemed like years since the Washington Capitals captured their first Stanley Cup last spring, their much-publicized championship celebration didn’t officially conclude until Monday.
The team used their off-day to visit the White House with the Cup — a sporting tradition that’s become a much more contentious once since Donald Trump officially took office.
The NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball have all seen players from their respective championship-winning clubs decline to meet with Trump in the WH — while the entire Golden State Warriors turned down the visit after their 2017 title before not being invited following their 2018 ‘ship.
This year saw three absences from the festivities, with goaltender Braden Holtby, plus forwards Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly — who is currently in the minors — all choosing not to join their teammates.
Each cited personal beliefs as the reason.
"My family and myself, we believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature, what you’re born into. You’re asked to choose what side you’re on, and I think it’s pretty clear what side I’m on," Holtby said last week.
Among the present were, of course, team captain Alex Ovechkin, who put together maybe his first “sober” championship speech in over nine months.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) March 25, 2019
"It's huge honor for us to be here and meet you personally. We're going to try to (win) again. We have same team, experienced team, very good group of guys and we're going to try to do it again," said Ovechkin.
Trump, as always, had a few words of his own, too.
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) March 25, 2019
In case you’re wondering or waiting for it: No, I will not grab the low-hanging fruit and make a joke about what wretched slop Trump fed the Stanley Cup champs for dinner.
I certainly would, but I don’t believe deep-fried Skittles are classified as a fruit.