Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin says he is skipping the NHL’s All-Star Game for the second straight season.
Ovechkin, 34, was once again was voted by fans as the Metropolitan Division captain but told reporters on Friday he would rather skip the All-Star festivities and rest his body for the second half of the season.
“Thanks, first of all, fans for voting me,” he said. “It’s a hard decision, but I have to listen to my body. I have to get ready for the second half of the year. I have to be healthy and focus on different things.”
The St Louis Blues are hosting All-Star weekend, with the skills competition being held on Jan. 24 and the 3-on-3 tournament on Jan. 25.
Per NHL rules, Ovechkin will be suspended one game, either directly before or after the All-Star Game. The Capitals captain, who leads first-place Washington with 23 goals this season, has appeared in seven All Star games.
Joining Ovechkin as All-Star captains are Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Boston’s David Pastrnak and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.
The NHL’s Department of Hockey Operations fills out the rest of the rosters.