WASHINGTON — Joe Biden honored the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning Monday for profitable the Stanley Cup in every of the previous two seasons.
In a uncommon sports activities break amid his administration’s response to Russia’s struggle in Ukraine, the president cracked jokes about captain Steven Stamkos and referenced first woman Jill Biden’s attendance at a COVID-19 vaccination effort on the Lightning’s residence area final 12 months. Biden made little point out of different gamers whereas speaking concerning the staff profitable one championship in an empty constructing in a quarantined bubble and one other in a packed home at residence in Tampa.
Russian gamers Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev attended the White Home and shared images on social media. There have been no noticeable absences and a handful of gamers from the Lightning’s 2020 championship staff who had departed or retired made appearances.
Only for this event, the staff made a 3rd journey to the nation’s capital in eight months after already visiting the Washington Capitals twice this season. The Lightning flew Sunday evening after enjoying on the Florida Panthers and have been set to return residence earlier than going through the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in one in every of their ultimate video games of the common season earlier than the playoffs start subsequent week.
Regardless of the Lightning profitable the Stanley Cup thrice — in 2004, 2020 and 2021 — it was the group’s first time visiting a sitting president on the White Home. The 2004-05 NHL lockout prevented that 12 months’s staff from going, and the pandemic delayed this chance till 9 months after the second of those back-to-back championships.
See also Fantasy WNBA: Fantasy girls’s basketball rankings
Stamkos, who’s Canadian, stated it was “a very long time coming.” He deferred to American Ryan McDonagh, a Minnesota native, to talk on behalf of the staff on the ceremony.