As reported by CBS Sports, the National Hockey League has suspended two of its stars: Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks one game for missing this weekend’s AllStar festivities in Nashville, Tennessee.
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) January 28, 2016
Ovechkin (injury) and Toews (illness) both opted to miss the game this weekend so that they can recover for the ladder half of the NHL season. According to NHL rules, however, any player that is voted into the game or named to the roster and does not play in the game for any reason receives a mandatory one-game suspension that must be served their team’s game immediately preceding or following the AllStar game.
The decision levied by the NHL has caused some uproar from fans in Chicago and D.C, citing that Ovechkin is, in fact, injured and Toews is, in fact, sick. During the Blackhawks 5-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, Toews did not play in the third period because of his illness. Toews has received support from team management as well as team medical staff about his decision to skip the ASG:
“At this time, rest over the break is most important for him to properly recover and be fully healthy heading into the rest of the regular season,” said Blackhawks team trainer Michael Terry in a statement.
Ovechkin, meanwhile, has also received support from his organization, as the Capitals said in a statement:
“We made this difficult decision after taking into consideration what we felt was best for Alex and our organization. Alex has been an incredible ambassador for our team and the League but we believe it is better if he uses this time to heal and ideally be completely healthy for the duration of the season.”
The decision by the NHL to hand down suspensions to Ovechkin and Toews is ridiculous to say the least. The AllStar game means absolutely nothing and has no meaning to the standings. Jonathan Toews has already missed regular season playing time due to this illness, and now because he wants to rest during the break he is going to be forced to miss even more time? It’s a lose/lose situation. He either plays in the ASG and risks furthering the illness and not getting enough rest, or he misses it and still has to miss a game. The NHL is basically trying to say that two points in the standings are not worth as much as some meaningless AllStar game which fans and players do not even care about.
The 2016 AllStar game may be the biggest mess in the game’s history, as along with John Scott being voted as captain of the Pacific Division team, Metropolitan captain Alex Ovechkin and Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews are not only ruled out but are now suspended because of their absences.
Both the Capitals and the Blackhawks return to the ice on February 2nd, where Toews and Ovechkin will be forced to sit. The Caps host the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers while the Blackhawks visit the Colorado Avalanche.