Secretary of State John Kerry meets Capitals’ defenseman John Carlson, who will play for Team USA in the Olympics. (via @washcaps)

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Verizon Center on Thursday night for an Olympic send-off event that recognized Olympians from both the Capitals and Winnipeg Jets.

Kerry met and spoke with Capitals players in the dressing room ahead of warmups for Thursday’s contest and then took part in a ceremonial puck drop with U.S. Olympians John Carlson and Blake Wheeler.

A total of eight players from the Capitals and Jets will participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi – Alex Ovechkin (Russia), Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden), Carlson and Wheeler (United States), Olli Jokinen (Finland), Martin Erat, Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Frolik (Czech Republic).

“I had a good talk with him, obviously a great man,” Coach Adam Oates said. “I know him from my Boston days, so we have a little history but he’s obviously a very busy man — comes in with his entourage. It’s pretty tough to chat.”

The Post Sports Live crew debates whether hockey during the Winter Olympics or the NHL Playoffs are more exciting to watch. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)

Here are a few more photos, via the Capitals’ Twitter account.