Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals captain, says he's not going to the All Star game.
My heart is not there. I’m suspended, so why I have to go there? I love the game; it’s 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.
The league responds.
In light of yesterday’s suspension, we informed the Capitals that, while Alex Ovechkin was still welcome to participate in this weekend’s All Star festivities in Ottawa, we would not be insisting that he do so. We now understand that Alex has decided to withdraw from this weekend’s events. Given the circumstances involved, we understand Mr. Ovechkin’s decision in this regard and have no intention of pursuing this matter further.
Think about this. Alexander Ovechkin is arguably the league's number one star now that Crosby is out. He has many, many fans. His presence on the ice is exciting for all, including other players who never get to play with him. Although he is a notorious puck hog, he is also a very good player and the All Star game is a great time for him to shine. The league benefits from his presence in many ways, including increased viewership.
So what does this boneheaded league do? Days before the All-Star game, they levy a three game suspension on the Washington captain. What, they couldn't wait a week? Is he such a monster that he needed to be suspended immediately? Why not simply delay the hearing (decision) until after the ASG?