Veteran Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen didn’t outright say Alex Ovechkin should be at the All-Star Game in Ottawa instead of sunning himself on the beach in Florida, but…well, you decide what Timonen really thought about Ovechkin’s decision to skip the festivities after getting suspended by the NHL.
“I always think this is kind of your personal choice, but for the fans, I don’t think it’s right. Still, the fans are the ones who pay our salary and that kind of stuff,” Timonen said, as reported by the Washington Times. “They wanted to see him; he’s one of the best players in the world. At the same time, it’s been a long season for him and maybe he’s got tiny injury or something. But as a fan, I wanted to see him here.”
The Times reports that most players “side-stepped questions about Ovechkin, essentially saying it wasn’t their call” – a predictable response given players don’t like to criticize other players in these sorts of situations. One day it could be them wanting to opt out of something. Plus there’s the whole union solidarity thing. After all, this is a league event, and it’s the league that suspended Ovechkin.
Regardless, Timonen’s right about the fans. They’re the ones who end up getting shortchanged. Even if James Neal is more deserving of the honor — and he probably is based on this one season — is there anyone who shelled out big bucks for tickets to the skills competition or game that’s happy they get to see Neal instead of Ovechkin?