Shortly after helping the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, Alex Ovechkin announced that he will not be participating in the 2020 NHL All-Star weekend in St. Louis.
Ovechkin was recently named captain of the Metropolitan Division team.
He wants to make sure he is ready for the second half of the season and playoffs. He did not participate in the 2019 game for similar reasons.
League rules dictate that Ovechkin will have to sit out one game either before or after the All-Star break due to his withdrawal from the game. The Capitals’ game before the break is January 18 at the New York Islanders. Their game immediately after is January 27 at the Montreal Canadiens. Given that the Islanders are a divisional opponent they might rather have him for that game.
Either way, not playing in the All-Star game, combined with the one regular season game he sits out, will give him more than 10 days off in the middle of the season.
That can not hurt for a 34-year-old that is trying to pace himself for what could be a lengthy playoff run.
Even as he gets into his mid-30s Ovechkin has shown little sign of slowing down offensively. With his assist on T.J. Oshie‘s overtime goal on Friday, he has 37 points in 39 games for the Capitals this season, including 23 goals. That puts him on pace for 48 goals over 81-games.
The other captains for the game are Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (Atlantic Division), Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (Central Division), and Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (Pacific Division).
The NHL All-Star weekend takes place on January 24-25 in St. Louis.