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Steigerwald: Pens Visiting the White House the Right Decision



Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Sullivan. Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Good for the Penguins.

Their trip to the White House went off without a hitch. Nobody was embarrassed. There were no protests – at least I didn’t see any players taking a knee during President Trump’s speech.

What was embarrassing was the media’s hysteria -especially in Canada – over the Penguins’ decision to accept the invitation. Sidney Crosby took a lot of heat from Canadian media, who obviously assumed that most of America and Western Pennsylvania hate President Trump as much as they do.

Former Penguins Georges Laraque, who does a radio show in Montreal, called the visit “an embarrassment.”

Maybe they missed the election results 11 months ago. Trump won and he carried Pennsylvania. Pretty sure he won Western Pa, too.

The sports media are mostly liberal and live in the same bubble. That’s why they’re surprised that more people aren’t as upset as they are about the Penguins decision to go to the White House.

They can’t seem to grasp that, based on the election results, more of their fans would have been pissed off if they hadn’t gone.

What did the Penguins get from the trip?

I think they got some pretty good publicity.

CNN, MSNBC and Fox (but not the NHL Network for some reason) carried the ceremony live around the world.

The President of the United State praised the Lemieux Foundation and the Penguins over and over again for the huge amounts of money given to Pittsburgh charities and for the donations to Puerto Rico and Las Vegas.

He called the owners “great patriots” and said the players were great role models. covered the visit and below the headline, wrote this: “Sidney Crosby, for what it’s worth, appeared to maintain his distance from Donald Trump.”

What did they expect him to do, check the president into the boards?

It was a nice visit. The guys looked spiffy and respectable in their coats and ties and nobody made a scene.

And give Ron Burkle and team president David Morehouse credit. It had to be hard for them to smile and show respect. Burkle and Bill Clinton are buddies. He’s given tons of money to Democrats. Morehouse worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Do you think either of them ever dreamed that Donald Trump would be living in the White House?

And, by the way, it’s beginning to look like President Trump has won the anthem debate. Jerry Jones has said players who kneel during the anthem won’t play and the NFL appears to be ready to make standing for the anthem mandatory.

The NBA has already said that all players will be required to stand.

The White House visit should finally end the 2016-17 season for the Penguins. The celebrations are finally over and they can start giving all their attention to trying to three-peat.

The 10-1 loss in Chicago last week should have been the sign that it was time to stop patting themselves on the back and, based on the 4-0 win over Nashville Saturday night, it may have done the trick.

There was some media hysteria after the Blackhawks blowout, but what happened there shouldn’t have been a big surprise. The Penguins had played into overtime the night before and probably got to their hotel rooms in Chicago at about 4:00 a.m. The Blackhawks were playing their opener and it was their first game since being swept in the first round of the playoffs. They might have been a little more interested in playing than the Penguins were.

10-1 may be a little over the top but as soon as it was 3-0 that game was over and all the Penguins wanted to do was get out of there without getting anyone hurt.

Matt Murray needed that shutout after Marc-Andre Fleury played the best game ever by a goalie in an expansion team’s inaugural game. Fleury’s goals against average was 0.98 after two games.

The nice thing about hockey is that, unlike in football, you don’t have to talk about an embarrassing loss for a week. Don’t think the Steelers wouldn’t have liked a Tuesday night game this week.

This week is a good test for the Penguins with back-to-back games against two Cup contenders in Washington and Tampa.

The Stanley Cup hangover might still be a factor for a while but there won’t be any more organized reminders to blame.

If there’s going to be a three-peat, it means they only have eight more months of hockey to play.

And a three-peat would be worth it just to see what kind of drama would be surrounding another trip to the White House.

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John has over 40 years experience doing just about everything you can do in Pittsburgh sports, including work at KDKA (TV and Radio), WTAE, the Tribune-Review and many more. Author of Just Watch The Game. Columnist and opinion writer here and at Pittsburgh Sports Now. You can regularly find John on Twitter and Facebook.

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4 years ago

Good article. Of course, I agree with your sentiment. On an aside, why does Pittsburgh Hockey Now seem to be a day late in reporting games and events? This morning there is this column, a day late. And no column or reporting on the Pens win! I am sure there is a reason.

Joseph Steigerwald
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

The article is from yesterday!