The Kings went through the usual rigmarole of a champion coming through the White House; they took a tour of the grounds -- where Dustin Penner was looking for the Wi-Fi password -- and had the ceremony with the president after a private chat. They also had a separate session with children as part of the Let's Move initiative.
During his speech to the teams -- half spent on the Galaxy, half spent on the Kings since they are both champs and are owned by the same company -- President Obama lauded the Kings on their Cup season, noting the unprecedented run of going from the last team in as the eight seed to the last team standing. He lamented the Kings' victory Monday night over his Chicago Blackhawks. The president is nothing if not consistent with his sports leanings, you must give him that.
The president had a little fun when posing for the cameras with his new No. 44 LA Kings sweater, asking captain Dustin Brown to show that toothless smile: "Just how a hockey player should look!" All part of the joy and honor of the White House trip.
From there Brown -- just the second American captain to ever win the Stanley Cup -- Rob Scuderi and Quick, all three American players, spent time chatting with little kids, fielding questions. They ran the gamut from playing in their first game -- Quick was scared not knowing anybody and trying to prove he belonged -- to if they have ever been in a fight. It made some folks squirm a little but of course Brown and Scuderi could only chuckle, admitting they had. Quick was able to go the G-rated route and say he has not, that his buddies protect him.
Then there was Scuderi answering about the toughest team and player he has faced in his career. Of course he went right to Pavel Datsyuk and said that when he was back with the Penguins the Red Wings were the toughest team, to which a few of the kids started to cheer. "Hey, pipe down!" Scuderi responded with a mocking scold. Then there was the child who was so nervous he couldn't even pronounce the word "interested" staring at stars from the hockey and soccer world, apparently awe struck.
All in all it was a quiet affair, other than the gabbing Obama probably received from coach Darryl Sutter, who wanted to talk about the Keystone Pipeline with the president. The team received the tremendous honor of touring the White House and meeting the president. Not too bad for a day off in the middle of this meat grinder.
Ha ! funny considering kingsholygrail early in this thread saying how Obama would mispronounce names ...
Originally Posted by lakingsinsider.com
How much different was this White House visit to your trip six years ago with Carolina?
“It’s all pretty similar. I think we were in the same room, same area, obviously with a little bit less people than we have now. And I think George Bush had a tough time pronouncing Rod Brind’Amour’s name when he came out, too. It’s good to have a president who’s actually a sports fan. You could see that he’s actually into it, and he’s honored to have us there.”
What is the feeling when the standing U.S. President walks into a room you’re in?
“You see the most powerful man in the world walk in, and he just seems to command respect and your attention when he walks in the room. It’s nice to see. I don’t know. He commands a room and obviously speaks very well. There’s a reason why he is where he is.”
Are you a history aficionado at all?
“No, not at all. When you’re in school in Canada, you learn about American history a lot, but [I’m] not really a history buff, no.”
What of the overall experience do you see enduring?
“I don’t know if anyone was taking a picture when he was shaking our hands, but I think that’s a cool memento to have, shaking hands with the President. And it does, in effect, give you a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’re here for a reason, knowing that the best teams every year come here. It’s special, and I’m glad we got to do it.”
Being Los Angeles’ captain comes with its advantages. Dustin Brown was the first player in Kings history to lift the Stanley Cup above his head and also enjoyed a few brief moments with the President prior to the public ceremony, a discussion Brown referred to as “just a normal chit chat”.
It was actually a continuation of a conversation he had with President Obama shortly after L.A. had won the Cup.
“He knows his facts,” Brown said. “He knew I was the second American-born captain when we had talked after we won. I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that he’s a pretty big sports fan. Again, for a guy who’s in the position he’s in, he seems like a really normal guy.”
For many at the White House on Tuesday, the right words to describe the exclusivity of the situation were a challenge to come by.
“It’s hard to really explain,” Brown said. “He’s the most powerful man in the world, and you’re meeting him. Being an American, it’s definitely a pretty cool experience, but there aren’t really any words that kind of describe what it’s all about.”