WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals want to get their chance to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship with Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.
Minutes after the Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Tuesday night, forward Brett Connolly said he would skip the ceremony.
"I said what I needed to say, "said Connolly, who had said that he would not attend the White House. "Respectfully, decline." Respectfully, decline. "It's a big deal and a lot of attention and I agreed with. "
Connolly, who is Canadian, did not identify the player.
Devante Smith-Pelly, who is currently in the minors.
Ovechkin and his teammates are still in the NHL tradition of visiting the sitting president
"I can not wait," Ovechkin had said in June.
The Russian-born captain and playoff MVP said he was excited about the White House.
The Capitals are Washington's first champions in the four major North American sports leagues since the NFL's 1
Robert Mueller is looking into the trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether or not he is a political observer. Ovechkin has been a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and fellow countrymen Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov are on the team.
After posting on Instagram about Putin in November 2017, Ovechkin said it was not political, while adding that he had a good relationship with Putin.
"I just support my president and just support my country because I'm from there, and you know, if people from US came to Russia, they care about what happens in the US," Ovechkin said. "So, I care about what's happening in Russia because it's my home and it's where I'm from."
The 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins champion visits the White House and Trump. Back-to-back Cup-winning coach Mike Sullivan said at the White House in October 2017 that the team's visit was not political and the Penguins were "simply honoring our championship and the accomplishments of this group of players over this season or the last two seasons. "
The NBA's Golden State Warriors decided not to go to the White House after either of their past two championships. Barack Obama before facing the Washington Wizards in February.
The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles had planned a visit to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, and trump rescinded theirs invitation on the eve of the gathering. After the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in February, Devin McCourty said he would not go to Trump's team, which he did in 2017 – absent quarterback Tom Brady and others.
The Capitals won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in June against the Vegas Golden Knights.
"It will be fun, "Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said of the White House trip on Tuesday night. "It's exciting. I think."
Goaltender Braden Holtby had previously said he would make a team decision about visiting the White House and "weigh the positives and negatives of everything."
"In any situation like that, you want to make sure you're doing what's right for what you believe in and that should take thought – and weigh a group decision, "Holtby said.