President Donald Trump expressed appreciation for U.S. service members on Super Bowl Sunday Alex Avila Jersey
, saying their bravery and sacrifice help make occasions like the year’s most-watched football game possible and renewing his criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.”Though many of our Nation’s service members are unable to be home with family and friends to enjoy this evening’s American tradition, they are always in our thoughts and prayers,” Trump said in a statement about the game shortly before the matchup between the defending New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles got underway.
”We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner,” Trump said. ”We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
The president has been critical of NFL players who exercise their right to freedom of expression by kneeling during the national anthem to protest unfair police treatment of minorities. Trump says the practice is disrespectful to service members, and he has criticized the league and team owners for allowing the kneeling to continue.
Trump hosted a Super Bowl watch party at his private golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida. He and first lady Melania Trump arrived just before kickoff. The Florida Atlantic University Marching Band marked Trump’s arrival by playing ”Hail to the Chief,” ”Boogie Wonderland” and ”Shut Up and Dance.”
Trump thanked band members for a ”great job” and complimented their ”great talent” before entering the club.
The president didn’t say which team he was rooting for. He punted when he was asked his preference earlier this week at the White House Joe Maddon Jersey
, saying ”I better not get involved.”
However, Trump is good friends with Patriots owner Bob Kraft. Trump has said Kraft telephoned him in December, as he prepared to sign a package of tax cuts into law, to tell him that the tax bill is ”incredible.”
The president spent the weekend at his estate in nearby Palm Beach, Florida, and returned to Washington late Sunday.
Shortly after the Eagles won 41-33, Trump tweeted Authentic Leighton Vander Esch Jersey
, ”Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!”
Philipp Grubauer will start Washington’s playoff opener against Columbus, the first Capitals goaltender not named Braden Holtby to start a postseason series since 2011.
The 26-year-old German started 10 of the final 16 games of the regular season, going 7-3-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Grubauer’s 2.06 GAA and .933 save percentage are the best among NHL goalies since Oct. 27.
”I just think that Grubi deserves the opportunity,” coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday, a day after telling Grubauer of his decision. ”It sort of evolved all year. There wasn’t a date or anything like that. It just evolved and Grubi got more games and a bigger body of work.”
Grubauer called it a privilege to start after spending the past three full seasons as the backup to Holtby, who won the 2016 Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender. It could be a short-lived privilege if he struggles because Trotz said his decision is only for Game 1 on Thursday night and the Capitals are going ”game by game.”
The opener will be Grubauer’s second career start in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Grubauer started a game against the New York Islanders in the first round in 2015 when Holtby was sick and entered in relief once in 2017.
”It doesn’t change how we go about our business,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. ”We’re just concerned about our game.”
Grubauer led Windsor to the Ontario Hockey League title and won the Memorial Cup in 2010. He also helped Germany qualify for the 2018 Olympics. But it’s this recent stretch that gives him the most confidence going into the playoffs.
”It helps playing more and more Denzel Ward Color Rush Jersey
,” Grubauer said. ”The more you get on the ice, the more experience you get. You see different situations and different teams. If you sit on the bench, you can get good from watching, but you’ve got to get the experience.”
He will likely see a lot of Columbus captain Nick Foligno, who is back after missing the final six games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. Foligno gives the Blue Jackets some net-crashing presence and will be in and around the crease often.
”I honestly feel great,” Foligno said after centering Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson in practice on what is now the deep Blue Jackets’ third line. ”I’ve played this game long enough to know how you have to prepare during an injury to make sure you’re feeling good mentally and physically when you get back.”
Holtby has never sat on the bench for a Stanley Cup playoff game. Michal Neuvirth started all nine games for Washington in 2011 before injuries to him and Tomas Vokoun pressed Holtby into duty in 2012.
The 28-year-old has started 59 of the past 60 Capitals playoff games. But his struggles down the stretch – a 3.75 GAA and .886 save percentage in his final 17 appearances – cost him the ability to go into another postseason as the guy even after showing improvements following his four-game ”reset.”
Trotz said Holtby was a pro and told him: ”If you put me in the net, my job is to stop the puck. If I get that opportunity Authentic James Washington Jersey
, I’ll stop the puck.” He was similarly gracious after practice about the demotion.
”My job is just to focus on my game, getting it the best it can get to,” said Holtby, who closed the season 5-1-0 with a 2.67 GAA and .911 save percentage . ”Coach’s decision who plays or not doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’ll just focus one practice at a time, trying to be a positive influence around the team and go from there.”
Holtby said in March it was good to ”clear the team’s head with that kind of stigma that’s kind of going on with me in net.” With Holtby and Grubauer splitting time down the stretch, the Capitals won 12 of their 15 final games.
”I think we have two good goalies who can play,” defenseman Dmitry Orlov said. ”Grubi was good for us all season. It’s not easy to be second goalie and not play some games. You need to always be prepared in practice. I think he did a good job like a professional player Anthony Averett Color Rush Jersey
, and I think he’s got confidence right now.”
NOTES: Capitals C Jay Beagle, who missed the final three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, did not practice Tuesday but skated afterward. Trotz is calling Beagle day-to-day. … Capitals RW T.J. Oshie said he feels great after resting a nagging lower-body injury and expects to be in the lineup for Game 1.
AP Sports Writer Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio, contributed.