Alex Ovechkin has been the biggest star of the Washington Capitals from the moment he made his NHL debut back in October 2005. With dazzling goals, solid assists, and dynamic plays, Ovechkin continues to amaze hockey fans around the world. It is no surprise that he’s back in the All Star Game on the same stage as the rest of the best of the NHL. Let’s take a look through the years at some of Ovechkin’s All Star Game moments.
During the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin’s rookie year, the NHL didn’t have any All Star festivities due to the Olympics. Before the NHL decided not to let players participate in the upcoming Olympic games next month, the stars of the league would represent their countries in their quest for the gold medal. Ovechkin would partake in his first NHL All Star game in 2007, his second season, when the game was held in Dallas, Texas. In addition Ovechkin was voted as a starter. It was the first time a Capital was voted as an All Star starter since Rod Langway in 1985-86.
One of the biggest storylines of All Star Games, no matter the sport, is athletes from rival teams playing on the same team with each other. Examples include Yankees and Red Sox players playing together on the American League at the MLB All Star Game, Redskins and Cowboys players playing for the NFC at the Pro Bowl, among others. With Ovechkin of the Capitals and Sidney Crosby of Penguins, two of the game’s youngest stars that would become the face of the NHL for the next decade, the 2007 game would mark the first time the two played together. Which made for an interesting press conference.
Ovechkin took part in the skills competition and scored a goal in the second period of the 2007 All Star Game in the Eastern Conference’s 12-9 loss to the Western Conference. During the 2007-08 season the All Star Game was held in Atlanta. Ovechkin once again took part in the skills competition and scored two goals in the first period in the East’s narrow 8-7 win over the West. That season, Ovechkin led the Capitals to the playoffs and won his first ever Hart Trophy (MVP). Ovechkin scored a career-high 65 goals.
Ovechkin shined in the 2008-09 All Star Game in Montreal, particularily in the breakaway challenge. Evgeny Malkin of the Penguins assisted him by handing him his props, his stick and even providing him Gatorade. Not only did Ovechkin come away victorious in the breakaway challenge for ht second year in a row, in my opinion he got even more points for style! In the game itself, Ovechkin scored a goal and two assists as the East defeated the West 12-11.
In 2011, Ovechkin took part in the All Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina and had a goal and assist. In this particular All Star Game, a new format was introduced. Instead of a traditional Eastern vs. Western conference matchup, there was a fantasy draft. Fans voted for six players from both conferences (three forwards, two defenders, and one goalie) while the NHL selected an additional 36 players In the pool of 42 players, the ones selected appointed two captains. Eric Staal of the Hurricanes and Nicklas Lindstrom of the Red Wings were the captains. Staal selected not only Ovechkin but his teammate Mike Green. Team Lindstrom got the win 11-10.
In 2012, Ovechkin got voted into the All Star Game but he didn’t play due to a three-game suspension. In the Capitals second to last game before the break, Ovechkin laid out a controversial hit on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek. He technically wasn’t suspended for the All Star Game, but Ovechkin figured it would be best to skip. Ovechkin sat out the final game before the All Star break and then the first two after the break.
Ovechkin took part in the 2015 All Star Game. The team captains in that game were Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks and Nick Foligno of the Blue Jackets. Foligno picked Ovechkin. Ovechkin finished the game with three helpers in a 17-12 loss to Team Toews.
After that All Star Game, the NHL used a different format. With the league doing three-on-three for overtime, this new All Star format would be a tournament style among all four divisions. The Metropolitan Division, Atlantic Division, Central Division, and Pacific Division would go head to head with three-on-three, 20-minute games. The winners of those two games would play for the championship. Ovechkin was voted as captain of the Metropolitan Division during the 2015-16 season. Ovechkin missed that game due to a lower-body injury which resulted in a suspension that he had to serve in the first Caps game coming out of the break.
At the 2017 All Star Game in LA, Ovechkin and Crosby reunited as teammates and were actually getting along. In fact, Ovechkin assisted on one of Crosby’s goals and Crosby returned the favor. Their teamwork helped lead the Metropolitan Division to the title as they defeated the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions.
In 2018, Ovechkin was voted captain of the Metropolitan Division. Unlike 2016, Ovechkin will take the ice on Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay.
By Michael Marzzacco