Thursday’s roundup: Obama honors champion Penguins

Associated Press

Washington  — President Barack Obama honored the Penguins at the White House on Thursday for completing what he described as one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of the NHL as they won their fourth Stanley Cup.

Obama noted he has now been able to celebrate with eight Stanley Cup winners during his presidency — with all of the teams based in the United States.

The Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby, overcame a tough start to with Obama noting they were closer to last place than first in late December. The team hired a new coach, Mike Sullivan, when it looked out of playoff contention. Obama credited the Penguins persistence and teamwork as critical factors in completing the turnaround.

Obama said a lot has changed since the Penguins first visited him in the White House in 2009. Then, the color of his hair was more like a hockey puck. Now, it more closely resembled the color of the ice, he said, and Sid “the kid” was still a kid.

Other bits of humor:

■Obama said he’s brought up the eight U.S. Stanley Cup winners to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

■The obligatory Blackhawks reference. Obama was describing Sullivan’s start to the 2015-16 season in the minors, a year after working in the Blackhawks player development department.

“(General manager Jim Rutherford) was smart enough to see that Sullivan had coached in the Blackhawks organization,” Obama said.

Boogaard case has ruling

A judge said a Rangers player who died in 2011 of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and a minor league player who supplied him with pills are victims of organized sports.

Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald spared Jordan Hart any prison time at sentencing on his guilty plea to a misdemeanor drug possession charge.

Prosecutors had accused Hart, 33, of contributing to the addiction of Derek Boogaard before he died in Minneapolis. Boogaard also played for the Wild.

The judge said Hart and Boogaard were victims of sports’ failure to consider the consequences of supplying large quantities of painkillers to players. Hart was receiving prescription painkillers for a shoulder injury when he met Boogaard, who had hockey-related injuries of his own.

Ice chips

The Kings placed right wing Marian Gaborik on injured reserve with a broken right foot.

Gaborik is expected to miss eight weeks.

... The Lightning plans to honor franchise scoring leader Martin St. Louis by retiring the No. 26 jersey Jan. 13. He played 13 seasons and won the Cup in 2004.