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NHL

Alex Ovechkin to skip NHL All-Star Game, take 1-game suspension

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, 12:21 p.m.
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin shoots against Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis during the first period Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Washington.
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin shoots against Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis during the first period Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin will skip the All-Star Weekend in San Jose to get some extra rest and serve an automatic one-game suspension.

The Washington Capitals announced Ovechkin’s decision Wednesday. The team says the NHL’s leading goal-scorer wants to take advantage of the adjoining bye week to prepare for the second half of the season.

“My body needs a rest,” Ovechkin said after practice on Wednesday. The 33-year-old has played in all 33 games this season and leads the Capitals with 45 points.

Washington’s final game before the All-Star break is Jan. 23 at Toronto. The All-Star game is Jan. 26, and the Capitals don’t play again until Feb. 1 against Calgary.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Ovechkin must miss either the game before or after the All-Star break. The NHL recently instituted an automatic one-game suspension for players who chose not to participate in All-Star Weekend, except in cases of injury.

Fans voted Ovechkin, the reigning playoff MVP, as the captain of the Metropolitan Division All-Star team. It’s not clear who would take over the spot, though the NHL’s hockey operations department chooses the remaining All-Stars.

Full All-Star rosters will be released Wednesday night.

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