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Obama welcomes Penguins to White House, singles out Kessel in hilarious opening remarks

Since the start of the post-season, Phil Kessel has been on a roll. From post-season sniper to Stanley Cup champion, Kessel’s summer has been capped off with some recognition from President Obama.

Few things have brought the hockey world as much joy throughout the off-season as Phil Kessel’s summer as a Stanley Cup champion, but in one of the off-season’s final celebratory hurrahs, Kessel has been a part of one more special moment thanks to President Barack Obama.

The Penguins visited the White House Thursday to celebrate their Cup victory, marking the second time the team has visited Obama during his eight-year stay in office, and during his opening remarks, the President welcomed those in attendance and singled out Kessel with the first joke of the short speech. Take a look:

Obama has always had pretty strong comedic timing, and this was no different, but the highlight of it all is Kessel laughing in the background and turning a certain shade of red.

The rest of Obama’s speech was fairly entertaining, including quips about the Presidents’ Trophy not being the league’s highest honor, mocking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the United States’ Stanley Cup dominance and the greying he’s done during his eight-year term, which was bookended by Penguins Stanley Cup wins. He even broke script to make a crack about the lameness of his jokes in response to a crying child.

The President didn’t pass up the chance to make reference to his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, either, pointing out that Penguins coach Mike Sullivan knew a thing or two about winning because he had come from the organization.

It wasn’t all jokes, though, as Obama recounted the touching story of Sidney Crosby’s Cup pass to Trevor Daley, which happened as a way for Daley’s mother, who was battling cancer, to see her son hoist the trophy days before her passing. Obama also pointed out that history had been made in that he became the first President to welcome eight American Cup champion teams during his presidency.

As is standard, the players took a few photos throughout their stay, including Kessel, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin, the ‘HBK Line,’ standing in front of the presidential podium:

And one of the more interesting moments, which can be filed to Sidney Crosby being Sidney Crosby, came when the Penguins captain recognized a former team intern who was now working for the secret service:

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