WASHINGTON -- Tim Thomas, one of two Americans on the roster, chose not to attend today's ceremony at the White House, according to GM Peter Chiarelli.
"We're like a family. We have our issues," Chiarelli answered when asked if Thomas's decision overshadowed the visit. "You deal with them, move on, and try and support everyone. It may or may not. If it does, I hope it doesn't. The guys seemed to enjoy it. I enjoyed it."
UPDATE: Thomas has issued the following statement: "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."
Shortly after Thomas released his statement, Bruins president Cam Neely issued his own.
"As an organization we were honored by President Obama's invitation to the White House," Neely said. "It was a great day and a perfect way to cap our team's achievement from last season. It was a day that none of us will soon forget. We are disappointed that Tim chose not to join us, and his views certainly do not reflect those of the Jacobs family or the Bruins organization."
All other players were in attendance. Chiarelli said attendance today was not mandatory. Steven Kampfer is the other American player from last year's roster.
"I can require someone to attend a team event. If they don't, I can suspend him," Chiarelli said. "I'm not suspending Tim. Whatever his position is, it isn't reflective of the Boston Bruins nor my own. But I'm not suspending him."
Mark Recchi, Tomas Kaberle, and Shane Hnidy attended the event. First-year Bruins Joe Corvo and Benoit Pouliot did not participate in the East Room ceremony.