QUESTION: We have a special guest joining us tonight. Please welcome Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thanks for sitting down.
SECRETARY KERRY: Happy to be with you. Fun to be here.
QUESTION: I’ve got to assume on the scale of your days, where there are some that are really, really hard and some days that are really, really fun, I would hope today’s a really, really fun day?
SECRETARY KERRY: This just became really, really fun. It’s been pretty lousy ‘til now. But no, it’s great. It’s wonderful to be here.
QUESTION: A little Olympic send-off for everybody?
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah, and just a celebration of hockey and the Games. And it’s fun to come by.
QUESTION: How was the visit in the locker room?
SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, it’s great. It’s cool for me. I love that. I mean, I’ve been a big fan of a couple of the players on the Caps. I’m obviously a Bruins fan, coming from Boston.
SECRETARY KERRY: I’ll be quiet. But Ovechkin is enormous. I mean, he’s so much fun to watch whether he’s playing us or anybody. He’s just explosive. And bigger than I thought.
QUESTION: Yeah, he’s a big dude. He’s a big boy.
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah, I didn’t – I mean, I was surprised, because on the ice, for some reason, when I see him, he looks more small.
QUESTION: Let me ask you this: I mean, you’re a big hockey guy, you grew up a hockey guy and played. Is it still a rush walking into a locker room and seeing everybody getting ready?
SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. It’s – you feel jealous of every one of them. That’s – I mean, I was a journeyman player, so I never aspired to anything beyond just getting out on the pond and skating around, having fun, and playing some in college. But it was – it’s – it never leaves you. If you love skating, you love skating. And I grew up back when the ponds froze over and – in Massachusetts, that doesn’t happen anymore.
SECRETARY KERRY: And we rushed to get out there and stay out there all day, no matter how cold it was, and just have a blast.
QUESTION: Now, I talked to a couple guys on the radio this morning that were telling me that with the new job, one of your biggest complaints is you can’t play in the charity hockey game every year.
SECRETARY KERRY: I’m – I haven’t had time. I haven’t had time to practice. I’m not such a fool that I want to go out and embarrass the hell out of myself. But it’s too bad. I’d love to play in that. I played in a number of years – we played here in the Verizon Center a couple years ago. And I played it, and I played in that for about four or five years straight. And then – I can’t now. It’s just been hard.
QUESTION: Let me ask you this: Do you get to – with all the travel that’s involved, do you get much chance to keep up with the sport?
SECRETARY KERRY: I keep up here and there. I keep up – I went to a Bruins game right around Christmas, somewhere around there or New Year’s – actually, New Year’s Eve. And that’s the only game I’ve been to this year so far. So I’m following it. I know they’re in first place in the division and I’m getting a sense of who’s where. I know you guys – minus three, and you got to win some games in the next 25, so --
QUESTION: But tell me they put something up on that plane where you can pretend you’re working --
SECRETARY KERRY: No, I can – I actually can – while we’re in the continental United States, we can pick up the TV. And I have, and I’ve watched some games going out of there. But the minute we get so far from the – from the continental United States, the signal drops and we’re gone and we’re finished. So --
QUESTION: I can get you a guy who can get you a pirated signal up on that thing. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: I – man, if we could get you – if we could just use you to improve my telephone. (Laughter.) Half my calls drop. But --
QUESTION: Hey, let me ask you this about the Games --
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah.
QUESTION: -- obviously, tonight’s an Olympic fanfare.
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Either – and maybe it’s a case of our memories are a little bit short, maybe it’s the saturation of the media, but with your knowledge, tell me that there is not as much concern or maybe we’re overhyping the concern going into the Games this time.
SECRETARY KERRY: No, I think – you mean concern in terms of the --
QUESTION: Security, terrorism threats.
SECRETARY KERRY: Look, is there concern? The answer is yes. Of course there is.
SECRETARY KERRY: But there is everywhere nowadays. At any big sporting event that attracts world attention, security nowadays has to be enormous. It’s true of the summer Olympics, it’s true of big sporting events, and now with the Boston Marathon, we know what we have to go through in Boston and so forth. So it’s a – you just have to take precautions. You have to be careful. But I think if somebody wants to go to the Olympics in Sochi, they ought to go. I don’t think it’s – they should be intimidated. It’s a great event – obviously a great event.
I can still remember to this day where I was, what I was doing when I watched the miracle of 1960, when they won and beat the Russians, it was like a Cold War victory – 1980 in Lake Placid. I mean, it’s extraordinary. These things stay with you. And there’s something about the Olympics. It’s the, I think, the nationalism and the pride in country and the international competition.
And this year, we’re competitive. I mean, the United States, Russia, Canada, Slovakia, Sweden are probably the top teams. And it’s a different game in the Olympics because of bigger ice.
SECRETARY KERRY: Which I’ve always been in favor of. I think these guys are so big and powerful nowadays, so fast, strong, that I just – I always have the feeling there’s not enough ice for them. They chew it up in three, four strides. So I like this – the Olympic rink is going to open the game up and make it faster and more fun, more playing, more (inaudible).
QUESTION: So a couple of weeks from now, who’s standing on the podium?
SECRETARY KERRY: United States, Russia, Canada.
QUESTION: Not bad. Not bad. I’ll take that. Obviously, United States will be getting gold.
SECRETARY KERRY: There you go.
QUESTION: Clearly. Mr. Secretary, I appreciate the time. Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY KERRY: Good to be with you. My pleasure.