In many ways, NHL All-Star weekend in Nashville was going to be a celebration of Barry Trotz and how he helped put the Predators on the hockey map.
Instead, the Capitals’ 53-year-old coach is likely to face lots of questions and probably a fair share of criticism for allowing -- maybe even suggesting -- that Alex Ovechkin be a no-show for the NHL’s showcase event because of a nagging injury.
And he’s OK with that.
“Ovi has gone (to All-Star games) probably more than any player in the last decade,” Trotz said. (He’s been to four). “If you really look closely, a lot of key players in this league have missed that game.”
That list includes Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who sat out last year’s All-Star Game and was suspended one game, and Red Wings stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk missed the game in 2009, one year after the NHL began suspending players for such occurrences.
“It’s a showcase for the league and Nashville, Tennessee,” Trotz said. “Would I like to have Ovi in Nashville? Absolutely.
“But you have to think about the big picture. The big picture for my ownership, my general manager, the players in our room, our team, and our fans is that we have to make the right decision.
“We are in the entertainment business, I get that. But you don’t win the Stanley Cup, you don’t get two points for that game. You get prize money. For us, it’s not about the prize money. We have a bigger goal and if we want to get to where we want to get to, we can’t do it without Alex Ovechkin being 100 percent.
“We have an opportunity to do this. We have to pay a penalty for it and we’re willing to do that.
“And Alex is sorry he’s not going to Nashville. This is a decision that when it came down to it, it came from the doctors, myself and Alex being truthful with us. We made the decision for him. Alex has gone many times to a lot of different things and has been one of the faces of the league and he’s held his own.
“Like I say, there have been a lot of players who have been in this sort of situation and some that have been healthy and teams have said, ‘Hey, he’s not going.’ But Alex has been dealing with something since mid-November.”