OTTAWA | Everyone has an opinion on Alex Ovechkin choosing to skip the NHL All-Star Game as a suspended player. Many All-Stars didn’t want to share or didn’t care, but the man who handed the Washington Capitals captain a three-game ban this week did not voice opposition to the move.
“I think I respect it,” NHL VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan said Saturday. “That situation, it was unique. I don’t think it’s ever happened before.”
Ovechkin is believed to be the first All-Star whose suspension would have bookended the event. Because of this special circumstance, Shanahan thinks the NHL should do something to eliminate the ambiguity of whether a suspended player should be allowed to attend or skip the All-Star Game.
“I think it’s something that sort of internally we need to address and sort of come up with something in the future going forward what is our policy on that,” he said.
Ovechkin explained that he did not want to be a distraction, and there’s no doubt he would have been forced to answer questions from international media about the ban, his style of game and his personal stats and performance this season.
Instead, other players were asked about Ovechkin not being there. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen was the most critical, though most All-Stars shrugged it off as Ovechkin’s personal choice.
Said Shanahan: “In the end I think that this is really a game and a weekend where we’ve got great All-Stars, we’ve got great rookies here that want to talk about the game, want to talk about themselves and not about who’s not here.