"It's my third time now. I think I should maybe get a room in the White House, I'm not sure. I'll ask him about it," said Williams, who made his first trip with the
Williams will complete a hat trick's worth of visits on Monday, when the Kings will meet President
Richards might have thought it would be too difficult to be around the Kings after the team waived him last week, or he might have feared he'd become a distraction. "It's a personal decision," center
The Kings had been scheduled to visit Canada's Parliament in Ottawa in December but that event was canceled because many dignitaries who would have greeted them were instead attending a memorial for
The chance to visit the White House resonated with Kings players from all nations. Center Anze Kopitar, a native of Slovenia, shaved his scraggly beard out of respect for the occasion.
"I didn't want to be seen as a grizzly bear," he said Sunday, after the Kings practiced in Arlington, Va. "It was nice, for sure, the last time we were there. I don't know if I would ever get the chance, besides winning the Cup, to go in the White House. I'm pretty sure it's the same with everybody in here.
"I'm looking forward to it. It's nice."
"I had never been to the White House before that. Growing up as an American, obviously it's not every day that you get to do that, and it's pretty cool, pretty special to do. To shake the president's hand is a pretty cool thing to do."
Players said the visit won't disrupt their preparations for Tuesday's game against the
"We've got two days to not just think about the visit, but think about our next game, where we're at and what we need to do for the rest of the season," Stoll said. "It's a special visit. We want to do it.
"To see the Stanley Cup one more time, maybe it will help us out the rest of the season and inspire us to play some better hockey and get some more wins and be closer to that thing than we are right now."
"I just think Obama's presence and his interaction with our players," Sutter said. "He was just like us. We were just like him."
Williams said the event won't divert the focus of a team that faces a tough road to get back into a playoff position. "We're going to enjoy it and get us refocused on a road trip we need to get a lot of wins on," he said.
Asked about the