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The Capitals haven’t said if they’ll visit the White House after winning the Stanley Cup

One player has already suggested he won’t go. But this is hockey, and it would be a bit surprising if his team didn’t.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday. It’s the first championship in their 44 seasons of existence and the first for a team from Washington since 1992.

Friday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted about them:

The franchise hasn’t said anything publicly about the prospect of visiting Trump at the White House. One player, winger Devante Smith-Pelly, has suggested he wouldn’t accompany the team on any such trip.

There are two big reasons to think the Capitals will take the trip.

  • Their arena is a couple of Metro stops away from the White House. They’re within spitting distance, which would make it a yearlong story if the team decided not to show up.
  • This is a hockey team. Trump has waged an assault on the dignity of America’s black athletes, but the NHL — an almost totally white league — hasn’t been in his crosshairs at all.

The Penguins went to the White House last year and paid no real price for it other than some criticism at the time for standing alongside a president who had called protesting NFL players “sons of bitches” and disinvited the Golden State Warriors from a White House visit.

LeBron James and Stephen Curry have both indicated they wouldn’t want or take a visit to the White House following this year’s NBA Finals. Only Smith-Pelly has said so in hockey. Trump disinvited the Super Bowl-winning Eagles this week and put on some other thing.

The Capitals’ owner is Ted Leonsis, an AOL mogul who hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Leonsis cited Trump’s immigration stance as his reason for backing Clinton. But if you’re thinking that Leonsis’ politics alone will keep the Capitals out of a White House visit, it’s worth considering that the Penguins’ co-owner is Ron Burkle, a billionaire who raised millions for the Clintons and still showed up to visit Trump in 2017. Burkle had cooled on the Clintons by the time of the election, however.