Saying his heart is not there, Alex Ovechkin announced Monday that he will not be participating in NHL-Star Weekend Jan. 27-29 in Ottawa.
I got suspended, Ovechkin said. I love the game, its a great event. Id love to be there. But Im suspended and I dont want to be a target. I feel I dont deserve to be there right now. If I have to be suspended, I have to be suspended, thats why I give up my All-Star Game.
Ovechkin will serve the first game of his three-game suspension tonight against the Boston Bruins. He and Capitals general manager George McPhee said they were disappointed in the suspension, but when Ovechkin was asked if he was protesting the All-Star Game because of the suspension he said thats not the case.
Its not about that, he said. Its all about the suspension I got. I dont think I deserved to get the three-game suspension for the hit I did. Id love to go there. I already planned my tickets and my friends would love to go there, too. But its not about what I want. I not deserve it right now. I got suspended until Feb. 4 so Im not going to play for that time.
McPhee said he supports Ovechkin's decision, adding that he thought questions about his suspension would become a distraction to the event.
"I just don't think it's in his heart to play and don't think that's the right way to play the game. I don't think there's going to be a backlash. ... He really doesn't want to be a distraction up there (in Ottawa). You know what the questions are all going to be. It's a great event and he doesn't want that distraction and we don't want it, either."
So how will Ovechkin spend his next two weeks?
Right now Im going to support my teammates today and after that, chillin, like I always do.