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Lightning Round: The Bolts will visit White House to celebrate back-to-back Stanley Cups on Monday

The first ever visit to the White House in franchise history

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President Trump Welcomes NHL Champion Pittsburgh Penguins To White House Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It was announced yesterday that the Tampa Bay Lightning have been invited to the White House in Washington D.C. by U.S. President Jon Biden to celebrate their two back-to-back Stanley Cups. The team will travel to Washington on Monday morning after playing against the Florida Panthers the night before in Sunrise, Florida. They will return to Tampa on the same afternoon, ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Despite having won three Stanley Cups, it will be the first ever visit to the White House in the Lightning’s history. The 2004 Lightning’s team weren’t able to visit the White House due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, becoming the only NHL team which was robbed of that visit since the tradition started. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the current team from visiting the official residence of the U.S. President in the past two years.

Last June, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team from Tampa Bay to visit the White House after winning Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. It was also the first visit for the Buccaneers in their history, despite their two titles: the Bucs didn’t go to Washington in 2003 due to the war in Iraq. The last NHL team to visit the White House was the St. Louis Blues after winning the Stanley Cup in 2019. Pat Maroon, who was a member of that Blues team, wasn’t able to participate as he had already joined the Lightning.

In 2018, the Lightning’s beat reporter Jon Smith wrote a story about some members of the Lightning’s 2004 championship team, who finally met George W. Bush — the U.S. President during that Stanley Cup Playoffs [The Athletic, paid content]

The 2004 Lightning is the only NHL team that got robbed of that opportunity. The 2002 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t get to go either.

Well, on March 1, the 2004 Lightning finally got some closure.

Andreychuk led a group of five, including three staff members from that team, on a visit to Bush’s Dallas office for a surreal 40-minute sit-down with the 43rd U.S. president.

Lightning Links

Both Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds received fines after their incidents during the Lightning vs. the Leafs game.

The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Belleville Senators 6-0 on Friday night. Max Lagace made 27 saves on that night, recording his fourth shutout of the season.

As the CHL teams started preparing for the playoffs, Geo took a look on the Lightning’s prospects in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL [Raw Charge]

The WHL and OHL seasons have come to an end and the QMJHL season will wrap up in another week or so. Now it’s time for the playoffs to start in all three CHL leagues on their way to the Memorial Cup tournament. The Tampa Bay Lightning have eight prospects across the CHL leagues so it is a good time to check in on them and see how their seasons are going and how they’re looking for the playoffs.

Former Lightning’s prospect Boko Imama made his NHL debut for the Arizona Coyotes last night.

Hockey News

A quick glance at the four games in the NHL last night.

The Edmonton Oilers officially clinched their playoff berth after beating the Western Conference leading Colorado Avalanche yesterday.

The Florida Panthers clinched top seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur passed away at the age of 70.