On Tuesday, shortly after he made the announcement that Alex Ovechkin would not take part in the NHL All-Star festivities in Ottawa this weekend, I asked Capitals general manager George McPhee if he was concerned about the backlash that might come from such a decision.
I just dont think its in his heart to play, McPhee replied, and I dont think thats the right way to play the game. I dont think theres going to be a backlash.
Oh, theres a backlash all right.
No matter how you twist the explanations McPhee and Ovechkin gave for Ovechkins decision to skip out on the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, it sure looks like a protest over the three-game suspension he was given for his hit on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek.
Call it Occupy Ovechkin.
And yes, Ovis decision has sparked criticism.
In his World According to JR blog for NHL.com, Jeremy Roenick calls out Ovechkin for his decision.
He says since hes suspended he shouldnt go to the All-Star Game, Roenick writes, but to me that is a cop-out. This game is about having the best players in the world there. Alex Ovechkin is a young, energetic, strong guy, and one of the best players in the National Hockey League. He should be at the All-Star Game, giving the fans in Ottawa and the fans that travel in something to watch and some great entertainment.
Ovechkin is one of the most entertaining players in the world not only because of the way he plays, but also because of his personality. He is a much-wanted commodity for an event such as the All-Star Game and it's disappointing that he's not respecting the honor of being chosen to attend. ...
It's disappointing to me and I'm sure it's disappointing to a lot of hockey fans that were looking forward to seeing one of the best players in the world.
Listen, I am a big Ovechkin fan. I have been since Day 1. But it doesn't matter that I'm a fan of his because I am disappointed with the way he has treated this situation. There has to be a little more loyalty to a League that has enabled you to make over 100 million.
Your thoughts? Does Ovi have an obligation to attend the All-Star Game? Or was he doing the right thing by staging his little protest? Let us know your opinion.