Reirden: Ovechkin skipping All-Star Game 'an organizational decision'

Josh Luckenbaugh
January 09, 2019 - 9:18 am

Alex Ovechkin caught the hockey world by surprise when he decided to skip the NHL All-Star Game after being named the Metropolitan Division team's captain, a choice which means he'll have to sit one regular season game, too.

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden — who will also be serving as the Metro's coach for the annual exhibition — explained Ovechkin sitting out was a group decision. 

"That one started a little higher than myself," Reirden told The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "Obviously, he's such a huge figure in the NHL that it was an organizational decision. And then, ultimately, we talked before he addressed the team."

"I understand where he's coming from, and know it was something he had a really tough time with, he went back and forth on. Like I said, he talked to us organizationally, up the ladder, and then we talked about my thoughts on it." 

"Ultimately, it comes down to what he feels gives himself the best chance to have a strong second half and give us a chance to get in the playoffs and do something special again this year."

Ovechkin still leads the NHL with 30 goals — he's now just the second player in league history to light the lamp 30 or more times in each of his first 14 seasons — but has cooled off of late, scoring just once in his last 10 games. 

Reirden's not worried about his superstar winger, however, explaining this drought is part of the "normal ebb and flow of the season."

"He was converting at such a high rate for a while there, it was probably not sustainable," said Reirden. "Goals or non-goals, you've got to continue to evaluate your game properly. Two-way play and different things that we saw him succeed in last year, continue to make sure those are important and help our team win."

"Goals or not, he's a huge part of our team playing big minutes, and I think it's just a matter of time until he gets rolling again with some goals ... He's doing things other than just goals, and that's what allowed us to have the success we have and be in first place as we are."

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