Capitals fans ensured that Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finally came face to face with the President in Washington on Monday night.
Thomas famously boycotted his team’s visit to the White House in January after last year’s Stanley Cup victory, in protest at Barack Obama’s stewardship of the federal government.
But he could not avoid him when he took to the ice Monday at Verizon Center after the home crowd plastered the boards with images of Obama’s head and donned masks with the President’s face.
"What did Wayne Gretzky say? You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. This was too much of an opportunity to pass up," fan Mike Holden told The Washington Times. "We had Timmy coming to town, and he wants this issue to go away, and we figured we’d put it right in his face."
Most fans said the chance to mock Thomas was just a bit of fun, but a few noted another potential benefit in the stunt: getting the star goaltender angry.
"He’s a notorious hothead, who if you can get him distracted on anything other than hockey, it’s not a bad thing," Brian Murphy told the newspaper.
Thomas went on to be beaten three times by the Capitals but left the arena celebrating a 4-3 win as the Bruins took a 2-1 lead in the first-round Eastern Conference series.
He was the only Boston player to decline the invitation to the White House in January.
Thomas said he was exercising his right as a free citizen to snub Obama, saying the federal government had "grown out of control" and was "threatening the rights, liberties and property of the people."
Although known to be a conservative, he denied the stunt was political, saying both parties were "responsible for the situation we are in as a country."