For the second consecutive year, one of hockey’s biggest stars won’t take part in the game honoring the best players.
Washington Capitals forward and three-time Hart Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin said Friday he will be skipping the NHL’s All-Star Game. He did the same last year and told reporters after the Capitals’ 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets that the decision comes with his health in mind.
“I have to listen to my body,” the 34-year-old said. “I have to get ready for the second half of the year. I have to be healthy and focus on different things. It’s a hard decision, obviously, being the captain and missing the All-Star Game, but I have to do best for me and for my team.
“If I was 21, yeah, I’m healthy, I’m good, but I have to think about the second half of the year and the playoffs,” Ovechkin said. “Right now, my focus is to be healthy and to help my team get success in the playoffs and it is what it is.”
Ovechkin must serve a one-game suspension — either against the New York Islanders on Jan. 18 or on Jan. 27 against the Montreal Canadiens — for missing the exhibition.
“You don’t want to miss the game, but the rules are the rules,” Ovechkin said.
The Russian native was selected by fans as the captain of the Metropolitan Division for the second consecutive year. His 23 goals currently rank fourth in the league.