Alex Ovechkin has decided not to attend the 2019 All-Star Game despite being named the Metropolitan Division captain. On Wednesday, Ovechkin informed the league he will sit out the game in order to take advantage of the bye week and prepare for the second half of the season. Mike Vogel was the first to report the news.
“First of all, thanks for all the fans who voted for me,” Ovechkin said after Wednesday’s practice. “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.”
Though it is not yet official, by deciding not to play in the All-Star Game Ovechkin will receive a one-game suspension from the league which will most likely be served in the team’s first game back on Feb. 1 when the Caps host the Calgary Flames.
After failing to score in six straight games, his longest drought of the season, Wednesday’s decision led to some speculation as to whether he could perhaps be dealing with an injury. Both he and head coach Todd Reirden denied that was the case.
This decision was based on one thing and one thing only: Rest.
“It’s been a long year the last year and that’s why,” Ovechkin said. “We want to do the same exact thing like last year. I like to be involved, I like to be in those kinds of games when there’s all the best players out there, but I think my body needs a little rest and I want to take a week off and get ready [for the rest of the season].”
If Ovechkin wants rest, he certainly is going to get it. Assuming he does miss the game on Feb. 1, that means he will have 10 days in between games from Jan. 23 in Toronto to Feb. 3 vs. Boston.
Ovechkin has played in the All-Star Game seven times in his career, but Wednesday’s decision is not the first time he has missed the game after being named an All-Star. In 2012, Ovechkin was serving a three-game suspension that overlapped the Game. Though he was still eligible to play, Ovechkin withdrew.
In 2016, Ovechkin withdrew due to a lower-body injury. Despite claiming an injury, however, he still received a one-game suspension from the NHL.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS: