Trump meets with Capitals at White House, asks about Penguins
The reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals went to the White House on Monday to meet with President Donald Trump … and the Penguins came up.
The Capitals’ visit came nine months after they hoisted the Stanley Cup and just a few days before the start of the playoffs. The Caps are in first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Trump welcomed them to the Oval Office, said he was a fan and introduced them to the media as they gathered around him at his desk.
“You had a truly incredible season. Defending against your arch-rival, and two time reigning champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Trump said, then turned to Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and asked, “How are they doing, Ted?”
“They’ll be in the playoffs, Leonsis responded.
“It’s never easy, right?’ Trump joked. “It’s never easy, but … let’s see how it all works out.”
He singled out captain Alex Ovechkin, of Russia, and said that his daughter, Ivanka, was a friend and fan, and called him a “very special athlete, a great player.”
Along with Leonsis, coach Todd Reirden and most of the players made the visit, presenting Trump with a red No. 45 jersey, as well as a gold hockey stick, engraved with the president’s name.
The group took a private 45-minute tour of the White House and then met with Trump. The group took photos and video for the media, then Trump spent time with them, passing out pens and M&M candies, and he posed for individual pictures with players and staffers, according to the Washington Post.
Also in attendance were NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who wore a Capitals Stanley Cup champions hat.
The Penguins visited the White House after their championship wins in 2016 (with President Barack Obama) and 2017. During the 2017 visit, Trump asked the Pens about the Capitals, calling them a “tough” team.
The Penguins are tied for second the Metropolitan Division. The Stanley Cup playoffs start April 10.
Frank Carnevale is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Frank at 412-380-8511, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @frnkstar.