Antti Raanta got plenty of flack on Wednesday for some harsh comments he made to a Finnish magazine about his last few months with the Blackhawks. The writer of that story said Raanta did vent his frustration, but it was just one quote from a very lengthy and positive story.
Juha Luotola, sports editor of Satakunnan Kansa, said he talked to Raanta for “3-4 hours and he had many great things to say about his time in Chicago. Unfortunately for him, this one line has now taken from his life story in the magazine.”
Raanta was quoted as saying that, “with fingers crossed, I hoped Nashville would beat us in four so I could get back to Finland sooner. I was so pissed.” Raanta told several Chicago outlets he did not say it.
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Luotola, who says he has the interview on tape, added that Raanta’s one quote of frustration is getting overblown.
“Antti was frustrated after Chicago send him [a] second time [to the] AHL and he told me truly how he felt. Statement looks bad if you read only one line from story. It's easy to [be] misunderstood and get away from the full story,” Luotola said via email. “But I also know that Antti didn't mean that in bad way. It was just his way to explain how frustrated he was: bad feeling last couple hours and after that, he was happy to be a part of team again.”
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: