With their sights set on a “bigger prize” and their captain ailing from an undisclosed injury, the Capitals have decided to keep captain Alex Ovechkin from playing in the NHL All-Star Game this Sunday in Nashville and are willing to lose their star left wing to a one-game suspension because of it.
Trotz said Ovechkin has been dealing with an injury since November and Ovechkin said a weekend snowstorm that forced the postponement of two games didn’t help matters.
“Obviously, being selected captain, I’ve never been a captain in an All-Star game, it’s a huge honor,” Ovechkin said Wednesday night following the Caps’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers.
“But we talk about it the last couple weeks and last week it was very serious. Should I go? Should I not go?
“The snowstorm came and we felt like maybe it would help, but it doesn’t. I was cleaning some snow on my house. It was my bad decision.
“But anyway, thanks to fans for voting for me. Tell them sorry, but right now we’re focused to get ready for the rest of the year and be healthy in the playoffs. That’s the most important thing.”
Ovechkin said he’s concerned that if he does not pay attention to his injury now it may linger for the remainder of the season and playoffs.
“That’s why we talked about it,” Ovechkin said. “That’s why we make a decision. It’s a huge opportunity to be captain of the team and the fans vote for me.
“It was a hard decision to make, it was a last-second decision. We tried to battle through it and maybe it gets better but it stayed the same. I have to be ready for the rest of the year. Get healthy. We have good chance to have success and I want to be part of it.”
As punishment for missing this weekend’s festivities, Ovechkin will be forced to sit out Tuesday’s home game against the Florida Panthers on a one-game suspension.