Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin Will Miss the NHL All Star Game
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews will not play in the NHL All Star Game in Nashville on January 31st. Toews was pulled in the third period of the Hawks’ 5-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on January 26th due to an undisclosed illness. The Blackhawks medical staff issued a statement that Toews best course of action was to rest and recover over the All Star break so he would be in the best possible shape for the playoff drive.
Toews joins Washington’s Alex Ovechkin as the biggest names missing the game. Ovechkin will miss the game as he deals with a nagging lower body injury that he’s had since November. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said they need Ovechkin in their drive for the Stanley Cup and that you don’t win the Cup by playing in an All Star game.
The NHL doesn’t quite see it that way. By rule, any player selected for the All Star game who misses the event must also sit out his team’s next regular season game. For Ovechkin, it means missing the February 2nd game against the Florida Panthers. Florida is in first place in the Atlantic Division while Washington leads the Metropolitan Division. Toews will miss the Hawks’ February 2nd game at Colorado.
We get that the NHL doesn’t want all its stars missing from the All Star Game—a weekend long celebration with a lot of events– with but we agree with team officials that injury or illness recovery for players is more important especially for those teams in the playoff hunt. The current policy will keep Ovechkin out of a game featuring the two top teams in the Eastern Conference, a game that will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network. And we know there often is no easy way to discern if a player who is not on injured reserve could play or just wants to relax at home. We figure most players understand the P.R. value of a showcase event like the All Star game, as well as the honor of being chosen to play, so if they and their team agree that missing a regular season game is more important to the player’s well being, we won’t question the decision.
Speaking of Alex Ovechkin, here he is scoring the 500th goal of his career on January 10th in Washington’s 7-1 win over Ottawa: