Penguins’ visit White House, steer clear of politics

The defending Stanley Cup champions made their visit to the White House today to accept congratulations from President Trump.

The Penguins marched through the NHL this past season en route to a second consecutive Stanley Cup.

On Tuesday, they did something perhaps even more impressive: They got President Donald Trump to stay on script.

In a most civil — and hardly political — 13-plus minute celebration of the Penguins’ most recent Cup, Trump lauded the Penguins’ accomplishments, made a few jokes about them winning a lot and being so good looking, and nothing got overly political.

The closest anything game was Trump saying that he should enlist Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle to help negotiate a NAFTA trade agreement.

Trump gushed over Sidney Crosby.

“Man, can you play?” Trump said, while wondering aloud whether Crosby had passed Burkle’s fellow co-owner and franchise legend Mario Lemieux.

“Has he out-done you yet, Mario?” Trump said.

Afterward, head coach Mike Sullivan was the only member of the Penguins to speak. He said he’d have no problem if one of his players took a knee out of protest during the national anthem but little else.

For them — agree or disagree — this was not political. And they had to have been pleased that it turned out to mostly avoid politics or anything resembling controversy.

“I didn’t feel any pressure,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think we felt any pressure because we’ve stated clearly from the get go that our acceptance of the invitation to the White House was not political and that it was simply a celebration of this group of players winning a championship and to honor the office of the president and the White House. I can’t tell you how proud we are of this group of players and what’ve accomplished over the last two seasons. This has been part of the celebration of this group of players and the commitment that they’ve made to win championships.”

Trump made other comments that drew a laugh. After the first few players were shy, Trump called on Phil Kessel — always good for a laugh.

“C’mon, get over here, Phil,” Trump coerced.

Kessel stepped down, his face beat read.

“These guys don’t want to be politicians,” Trump said. “Don’t be politicians.”

Trump gave the Penguins grief for beating up on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, where Trump would watch, but said that’s what this group does.

“It’s called winning, right, Sidney?” Trump said.

The president finished by predicting that the Penguins would be back here next year.

In his post-ceremony comments, Sullivan said flatly that they presented Trump with “a gift.”

Just Posted

Garbage pickup remains Town of Qualicum Beach service

Council rejects motion to join RDN’s contracted collection service

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture compliments an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

More Parksville Qualicum school families to get hampers this Christmas

School district, business giving project exceeds last year’s total

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Overtime goal lifts Nanaimo past Generals

Oceanside hockey squad falls short after rallying to tie league game

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

UPDATE: Oceanside RCMP I.D. suspected nail gun thief

‘Multiple tips’ from public aid in quick identification of suspect in Parksville theft

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

Most Read