Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will miss the NHL’s All-Star Game in San Jose, California, later this month because he wants to use the time to rest.
Last week, Ovechkin was named the captain of the Metropolitan Division team because he earned the most fan votes among Metro players. He also held the role last season.
But the Capitals’ league-mandated bye week this season follows the All-Star break. The Capitals have an eight-day stretch with no games, giving Ovechkin an opportunity to further rest his body.
As a result of his decision, Ovechkin will be suspended one regular-season game either directly before or directly after the All-Star break, per the NHL’s policies.
The Capitals play at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 23 before the break starts and host the Calgary Flames after the break on Feb. 1. Both opponents have slightly better records than Washington at the moment.
At practice, Ovechkin thanked fans for voting for him, but said that at 33 years old, he felt that he needed to give his body a rest.
“It’s tough decision, obviously,” Ovechkin said. “I like to be part of all the events, but right now I think that time of the year and my age, we decided to take a one-week break.”
“It’s his decision and organizationally we support him on that,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden added. “At this point, he knows his body and what’s best for him and I expect him to come back stronger than ever.”
The Russian leads the NHL with 29 goals and pulled off a 14-game point streak earlier this season.
The NHL’s All-Star Weekend takes place Jan. 25-26. It is not yet known who will replace Ovechkin as captain of the Metro squad.