Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will miss NHL All-Star Weekend in San Jose from January 26-27 to take full advantage of his team’s bye week, which will take place from January 24-31. Ovechkin, 33, was voted by the fans as captain of the Metropolitan Division’s team for the All-Star Game.
#Caps captain Alex Ovechkin has informed the NHL that he will miss the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, preferring to take full advantage of the adjoining bye week to recuperate and get ready for the second half of the season and the playoff push.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) January 2, 2019
Ovechkin was voted as captain of the Metropolitan Division for the 2016 All-Star Game due to injury and was suspended for the Capitals’ next game following the All-Star Break. He will likely have to serve a one-game suspension again. The Capitals’ first game after the All-Star Break is on Friday, February 1 against the Calgary Flames.
Each team must have one representative for the All-Star Game. The All-Star rosters will likely be announced sometime next week.
Ovechkin leads the NHL with 29 goals and the Capitals with 45 points.
Ovechkin has played in seven All-Star Games (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2018). He is the franchise leader in All-Star game appearances, goals (seven), assists (seven) and points (14). Ovechkin was the captain of the Metropolitan All-Star team last season.
He told reporters after the Capitals’ practice on Wednesday that at his age, his body needs a rest and wants to regroup for hopefully another long playoff run this upcoming Spring.
While his six-game goal-scoring drought may be an indication to some that he may be injured, Ovechkin and head coach Todd Reirden both shot that possibility down.
In practice, he was reunited with center Evgeny Kuznetsov and forward Tom Wilson on the top-line, the same first line the Capitals used in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. Forward Jakub Vrana skated on a line with center Nicklas Backstrom and forward T.J. Oshie, whom Ovechkin skated on a line with before the Capitals shook up their lineup during their 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday.
Reirden said that the team will decide which game Ovechkin will sit out closer to the All-Star Break. Ovechkin has played 202 consecutive games.
Reirden said that “we’re hoping to” see defenseman Matt Niskanen return to the lineup against the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night. Niskanen, 33, has missed each of the Capitals’ past two games with an upper-body injury.
By Harrison Brown