Alan May doesn't blame Ovechkin for skipping All-Star Game: 'It's a grind'

Chris Lingebach
January 03, 2019 - 12:41 pm
Alan May doesn't blame Ovechkin for skipping All-Star Game: 'It's a grind'

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone should be perfectly fine with Alex Ovechkin skipping the NHL All-Star Game, says Alan May, even if the current league rules mandate a one-game suspension.

"Players have been doing this for years now. They've been taking time off at the All-Star break," May told The Junkies on The Morning Skate, presented by D.C. Lottery. "They're just tired, they're fatigued."

"I'm not sure exactly what Ovi's – there's probably more to the story, that he needs a little break," he said. "He didn't play particularly well against Nashville the other day. I thought he only got the motor running two or three different times. The effort was there, but it looked like the body wasn't cooperating."

"I have zero problem with any player in the league that doesn't play in the game," May continued. "The league keeps changing the rules – the management guys, it's a fan vote – there are all these different things that go into putting players on teams, and I think if players don't want to play, they don't want to play. But I also get that, since they put so much promotion into it, that there is a one-game suspension if a player's not injured.

"And Ovi knew that and the team knew that. I'm fine with him doing what he's doing, just like I was fine when Jonathan Toews did it on the Chicago Blackhawks, like I was fine when Sidney Crosby did it with the Pittsburgh Penguins. These players know their bodies, and, you know what? At the end of the season, they don't engrave your name on the Stanley Cup for playing in the All-Star Game. That's for winning the championship in the Stanley Cup Final. So guys can do what they want, as far as I'm concerned."

May says it's likely Ovechkin consulted coach Todd Reirden and GM Brian MacLellan before bowing out of All-Star weekend, and that the Caps' shortened summer after winning the Stanley Cup has put an abnormal strain on Ovechkin and his teammates' bodies this season.

"They definitely all met on it," said May. "He could have just came out and said he's not playing. They probably would have been pissed off at him. But he's smart enough that they probably all sat down before."

"You know, it's a grind. These guys had less training time this summer than they normally have," he continued. "Ovi had a kid. His baby was born in South Florida. He had a very short time this summer to prepare for the season, had a lot of things going on and it's a grind. There's probably no player in the league that has more media attention than him. When he goes around city to city, this is the guy the press is waiting for.

"It's tedious little things. I'm sure everyone's 100 percent fine with it. And, once again, I don't know how many goals Ovi scored in the All-Star Game last year, the year before, the year before that. I don't remember any of them, but I do remember the goals that he scored for the Caps wearing his uniform."

The 2019 All-Star Game is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26 in San Jose. The Caps will be represented by John Carlson and Braden Holtby. Nicklas Backstrom is a finalist on the "Last Men In" ballot.

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Related: SNIDER: Ovi should be lauded for skipping ASG