The Washington Times - April 16, 2012, 07:37PM

Tim Thomas put himself in the spotlight in late January when he skipped the Boston Bruins’ trip to the White House to see President Obama, saying it was his right as “free citizen.”

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People,” Thomas wrote on his Facebook page.


He hasn’t wanted to address the issue since, but with the first round series with the Capitals coming to Washington, bloggers and fans teamed up to bring Obama heads and posters to Verizon Center.

We’ve taken a story that already existed and kind of rekindled it, fired it back to life,” said Kevin Klein of the Sick, Unbelievable blog. “I think in Tim Thomas’ head, it was already there. He knew that coming to Washington after he had made his own political statement, it was going to be a big deal.”

If Thomas wasn’t thinking about it, he certainly saw during pregame warm-ups as several fans brought home-made signs and some printed from the Russian Machine Never Breaks and Brooks Laich Year blogs.

What did Wayne Gretzky say? You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. This was too much of an opportunity to pass up,” said Mike Holden, 37, of Rockville. “We had Timmy coming to town, and he wants this issue to go away, and we figured we’d put it right in his face.”

Brian Murphy, 35, of Chantilly, Va., better known under the pseudonym Homer McFanboy, brought a larger-than-life Obama head and stood behind the Bruins’ net for warm-ups.

“We just wanted to make him feel welcome,” he said. “He’s a notorious hot head who if you can get him distracted on anything other than hockey, it’s not a bad thing. I don’t see the downside in having a little fun. I’m an army veteran; I figure he wanted to make it all about politics, so I’m just playing his game at this point.”

Added Missy Colombo, 37, of Fredericksburg, Va.: “I absolutely believe getting in his head is the way to get him.”

Several fans and bloggers talked about this not really making much of an impact on Thomas’ play, just a way to have some fun.

“I would hope that it doesn’t affect a professional athlete,” said Pat Holden, 30, of Baltimore. “I certainly don’t think it will in any positive way. It’s more for fun. I don’t have any expectations on it affecting his play.”

But if it does, Caps fans will take that, too. Mike Schumar, 21, of Caroline County, Va., went to Kinko’s earlier Monday to get a Russian Machine Never Breaks poster designed after the Shepard Fariey “Hope and Change” portrait blown up. It cost about $40, but he said it was well worth it.

“Anything to get into Thomas’ head,” Patrick Schumar, 30 of Manassas, Va., said. “If he thinks of that all game, he’s going to let a few more than two goals in tonight.”

Ian Oland of Russian Machine Never Breaks designed three different posters. One is an Obama mask with cutout spaces for eyes, one is a tribute to a Presidents of the United States album cover and the other comes from Fairey’s famous poster with “Hope and Change” replaced by “Hope You Get Pulled.”

Peter Hassett of Russian Machine Never Breaks expressed some concern that this might fire up Thomas.

“If he shuts out the Caps, we’ll be notorious,” Hassett said. “This might, in hindsight, end up being a mistake, but it’s fun and who cares?”

And if Thomas does manage to have an excellent performance?

“If it backfires,” Patrick Schumar said, “it doesn’t come to Game 4.”

Verizon Center public address announcer Wes Johnson hopes the Obama heads have an impact in a much bigger way.

“What I think is that we have to do something to try to get the actual president to take an interest in Washington Capitals hockey, and if that means everybody has to impersonate him until he shows up in person, that’s what we got to do,” Johnson said. “It would be nice watching Tim Thomas’ head explode. That would be the final result: All the heads and then the real one, boom.”