The NHL won’t like Alex Ovechkin‘s decision to pull out of the All-Star game, but the Washington Capitals aren’t too worried about that.
The Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup and they haven’t been to the Cup final since ’98, so you can understand why Washington’s priorities are where they are.
“It’s a showcase for the league and Nashville, Tennessee,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “Would I like to have Ovi in Nashville? Absolutely.
“But you have to think about the big picture. The big picture for my ownership, my general manager, the players in our room, our team, and our fans is that we have to make the right decision.”
How banged up is Ovechkin? Nobody outside the Caps organization knows for sure, but how hurt can he be?
The 30-year-old played just under 20 minutes in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Regardless, the team and the player are comfortable paying the penalty. Ovechkin will be forced to miss Washington’s first game back from the All-Star break.
“We are in the entertainment business, I get that. But you don’t win the Stanley Cup, you don’t get two points for that game. You get prize money. For us, it’s not about the prize money. We have a bigger goal and if we want to get to where we want to get to, we can’t do it without Alex Ovechkin being 100 percent.
“We have an opportunity to do this. We have to pay a penalty for it and we’re willing to do that.”
What can the NHL do to avoid situations like this?
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the league is likely to enforce stiffer penalties for players who back out of the game.
*Update: The Capitals have announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov will take Ovechkin’s place on the All-Star game roster.
Islanders forward John Tavares will replace Ovechkin as the Metropolitan Division captain.