The President treats hockey like some of us treated the girl with body odor at prom; he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, but he's not going out of his way to dance with her either. We'd gotten our hopes up in July, when in a speech at the New Economic School in Moscow, Russia, President Obama name-checked Alex Ovechkin. But later, when pressed by Chuck Todd on an appearance on Meet The Press, Obama’s true feelings came out:
“You mentioned Ovechkin in there, our friend in Washington. Do you think should you have been transparent and said you've never been to a hockey game? Are you going to fix this?”
“The truth of the matter is that I have watched this guy play, and he's outstanding. But you know, Chuck, I grew up in Hawaii....”
“Don't tell those Blackhawk fans that. You became a Bulls fan!”
“We have basketball [in Hawaii]. We didn't have hockey. I love watching hockey."
The President must dig himself out of this hole or face losing the hockey constituency forever. There's a political truism that might as well read like this: "As goes Caps Nation, so goes the actual, real-life nation." President Obama must be made to love hockey, and it seems fitting that Ted Leonsis be the one to do it.