SNIDER: Ovechkin should be lauded, not punished for skipping ASG

Rick Snider
January 02, 2019 - 5:13 pm
Alex Ovechkin should be lauded, not punished for skipping ASG

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin has chosen helping his team over personal glory and the NHL is suspending him one game for it. What a crock.

Ovechkin has decided to skip the all-star game on Jan. 26 despite named captain of the Metropolitan Division to rest for the coming playoffs. He played in 106 games last year, including 24 postseason games during the Stanley Cup championship run.  Ovechkin has come right back to play in 38 games while leading the NHL in scoring with 29 goals.

If Ovechkin wants to rest before trying another championship run, the NHL should respect that. After playing Toronto on Jan. 23, Washington is off until Feb. 1 against Calgary. Ovechkin will miss one of the two games for his suspension to gain a nine or 10-day break.

Let's sum this up – Ovechkin is helping his team by getting rest rather than enjoy the accolades of playing in a meaningless exhibition and the NHL suspends him.

The NHL wants its top players to participate, but suspensions won’t encourage cooperation. If nothing else, it embitters players from helping the league. Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby is also missing the all-star game for the fifth time with an undisclosed injury and will also serve a one-game suspension. That’s even worse given he’s hurt. The NFL lets injured players miss its all-star game. Major League Baseball lets pitchers opt out.

Ovechkin is 33-years old and knows his aging body needs more rest to help the team to repeat its championship. It’s not like he’ll party all week in Las Vegas. The league should respect players opting out, not punish them.

The Caps and Ovechkin are being unfairly penalized by the league for not helping the latter gain higher TV ratings. Who’s the bad guy here? It's not No. 8.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks