Brett Connolly was Steve Yzerman’s first draft choice as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010. Connolly started a tend, though, that too many of the 1st round picks by the Lightning have followed in recent years: He moved on. Connolly was traded to the Boston Bruins at the 2015 NHL trade deadline.
This story isn’t about first-round phase-outs or failings, though, this is to share news about, ahem, Stanley Cup Champion Brett Connolly and a decision worth noting in the sports world.
Connolly has been with the Washington Capitals since 2016-17, check out his numbers here. As a member o the Caps, he is someone slated to visit the White House… Y’know, one of those champion traditions. Instead of doing so, Brett has opted to stand with teammate Devante Smith-Pelly and has opted-out of visitation.
You can read a quote from Connolly on Russian Machine Never Breaks, but a paraphrased quote from Connolly makes me smile: It’s about what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s not political in nature that’s opting him out. Connolly also alluded to the notion more players from the Capitals roster may opt away from attending.
This strikes me positively as it contrasts the 2017 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who just went along with everything like there was no issue. That – the Penguins visit – contrasted champions in pro sports as the Golden State Warriors opted out of visiting (twice), as did numerous members of the 2017 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and the entirety of the 2018 Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The2017 World Series winning Houston Astros largely attended.
We’ll see where it goes from here regarding members of the Caps who also opt-out, but with an international base and diplomatic issues that alienate, it wouldn’t be wrong to expect a wide skip-out. There’s also the team-unity aspect that may have a hand in it; solidarity and support for Devante Smith-Pelly, who opted out shortly after the Caps hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup.