WASHINGTON -- The NHL announced on Saturday that Alex Ovechkin had been voted captain of the Metropolitan Division for the NHL All-Star Game, but that is certainly no guarantee that the Capitals captain will participate.

This is the fourth time Ovechkin has been voted a captain and the third straight year. If he participates, it will be his eighth appearance in the All-Star Game.

The keyword there is "if."

Ovechkin chose to sit out of last year's All-Star Game, and received a league-mandated one-game suspension. On Saturday after Washington's 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning he was noncommittal on whether he would participate in this year's festivities and at the very least left open the possibility that he may not be going.

“We’ll see," he said when asked if he would go. "It’s lots of games to play. I’m going to do the best for my health and for the playoffs and I have to be healthy for the most important games moving forward.”

All-Star weekend is set for Jan. 24-25. Should Ovechkin choose not to attend, he will receive a one-game suspension. Last season, he and the team had the choice of whether he would miss the game before or after the break. That would mean Ovechkin would miss either the Jan. 18 game against the New York Islanders or the Jan. 27 game against the Montreal Canadiens, both on the road. Again, Ovechkin would miss one of those games only if he does not participate in All-Star weekend.


While he made it clear his health for the playoffs was his main concern, Ovechkin did stress that it was an honor to be voted captain by the fans.

"It’s always nice to be a captain on the All-Star team," Ovechkin said. "Thanks fans for voting me. It’s a huge honor for me, for this organization and this team.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.