Why did Ovechkin voluntarily miss NHL All-Star Game?

BY JOHN SCOTT, Couchsideshow.com contributor

Washington Capitals left winger Alexander Ovechkin voluntarily sat out of the NHL All-Star game Sunday. Photo by: Capitalpowerplay / Flickr

Last year, Sidney Crosby said he was going to miss the NHL All-Star game to protest the league’s player safety policy. As time elapsed, it was his concussion problems that kept him out of the All-Star game.

Now, the other famous hockey star, Alexander Ovechkin, decided he would not participate in the most thrilling game of the NHL season. On Jan. 23, Brendan Shanahan (Senior Vice President Player Safety and Hockey Operations) announced that Ovechkin would be suspended three games after his hit on Pittsburg Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek. Shanahan said Ovechkin “launched” himself at Michalek, leaving his feet and made unnecessary head contact.

“The moment Ovechkin launches himself into the air prior to the hit he becomes responsible for any contact to the head,” was Shanahan’s explanation for suspending arguably the league’s most interesting player. Incidentally, the NHL’s All-Star game fell right between Ovechkin’s suspended games.

However, he was suspended from the Capitals’ games, not the All-Star game. In other words, he was still able to participate in the All-Star game. But Ovechkin, being the kind-hearted man he is, opted out of the game.

“My heart is not there. I got suspended, so why I have to go there? I love the game; it’s a great event. I’d love to be there, but I’m suspended. I don’t want to be a target. I feel I’m not deserving to be there right now. If I’m suspended, I have to be suspended. That’s why I give up my roster spot,” Ovechkin told reporters.

Some question whether or not the hit was worth a three-game suspension, but more importantly, should Ovechkin have missed the All-Star game because of it? Ovechkin, undoubtedly, is one of the most exciting players in the game. He plays with an enormous amount of heart, lays huge hits, and scores insane goals. Last year, during the All-Star game, Ovechkin ended up winning the game in a shootout.

He definitely should have been at the All-Star game. He makes the games exciting to watch and puts laughs and smiles on fans’ and even players’ faces. Did Ovechkin skip the All-Star game for actual self morality and belief, or did he do it to protest the hit and increase his popularity?

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