Despite having been named one of the four All-Star captains, Alex Ovechkin won’t be taking part in the festivities this year. According to team reporter Mike Vogel, the Washington Capitals forward has informed the NHL that given his team’s mandatory bye week falls right alongside the All-Star break, he’ll take the time to rest for the second half of the season. This would mean Ovechkin would need to miss either the game prior to the break, or face a one-game suspension afterwards for missing the event without a definite injury. The veteran forward explained his decision:
First of all, thanks for all the fans who voted for me. I know it’s a tough decision, obviously. I like to be part of all the events, but right now I think that time of the year and my age we decide to take a one-week break. It’s hard but it’s better for me, I think, at this point.
The league will announce Ovechkin’s replacement as captain of the Metropolitan Division along with the rest of the All-Star lineups tonight. Sidney Crosby, who has been known to miss the event in the past, told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he plans on attending and could be a potential fill-in as captain given his division-leading 48 points this season.
While Ovechkin will miss a game for the decision, many Capitals fans will likely understand the decision given the high hopes of the club this year. Washington is on a good pace to once again lead the Metropolitan into the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup, with Ovechkin playing some of the best hockey of his career through parts of this season.