After being named captain of the Metro division all-stars for the second year in a row, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will miss the 2019 All-Star Game.
The news was first reported by Capitals’ senior writer Mike Vogel.
#Caps captain Alex Ovechkin has informed the NHL that he will miss the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, preferring to take full advantage of the adjoining bye week to recuperate and get ready for the second half of the season and the playoff push.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) January 2, 2019
After Capitals practice, Ovechkin addressed the media about his decision.
“[T]hanks for all the fans who voted for me,” Ovechkin said. “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.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 2, 2019
Ovechkin talked through his thought process with head coach Todd Reirden and general manager Brian MacLellan before making a decision.
“It’s his decision, and organizationally we support him on that,” Reirden said. “I think the benefits from it are that he has played a lot of minutes, he has had a lot of wear and tear in the last year and a half, for the most part. I think that allows him to get the type of rest that he needs in terms of pushing us forward in the second half of the season. At this point, he knows his body and what’s best for him. I expect him to come back stronger than ever.”
Ovechkin has been named to ten All-Star Games in his career. This is the third All-Star game Ovechkin will miss during his tenure.
“I would say that it’s been a long year the last year and that’s why we want to do the same exact thing as last year,” Ovechkin said. “Right now, my body needs the rest. I’m not saying it’s sore or something, but for us I think it is the right decision.”
Ovechkin’s two other missed All-Star Games were due to lingering injuries sustained throughout the season. When he missed the 2016 All-Star game, he was suspended for one game by the league.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 2, 2019
When asked if he would be suspended, Ovechkin responded, “I don’t know yet. We’ll see.”
The Capitals are moving forward as if he will.
“That’s the situation that the league has in place, so he knew that in making his decision,” Reirden said. “He addressed all of the players today, so it was done very professionally. He has been wrestling with this for a while, and it’s a tough one. He knows the honor of being voted in by the fans and all that.
“[W]e’ll decide what game he misses as we get closer to that,” Reirden added.
Ovechkin will miss either a January 23 game against Toronto before All-Star Weekend or a February 1 game against Calgary after the bye week.
The NHL’s Hockey Operations Department decides the rest of the roster besides captain, which is voted on by fans, so it’s likely they’ll be the ones to pick Ovechkin’s replacement from the Capitals and a new Metro division captain.
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