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Alex Ovechkin to Skip 2019 NHL All-Star Game to Rest for Remainder of Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Capital One Arena on December 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin informed the NHL on Wednesday he's going to skip the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, California, on Jan. 26 to rest for the second half of the season.

Mike Vogel of Sportsnet reported the update. Chris Johnston of the NHL Network noted league policy mandates Ovechkin must sit out the Caps' game before or after the All-Star break as a result.

The 33-year-old future Hockey Hall of Fame inductee has played in all 38 of Washington's games during the 2018-19 campaign. He appeared in 106 contests last year, 82 during the regular season and 24 in the playoffs to help lead the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup.

In December, Ovechkin told Greg Wyshynski of ESPN.com that strong performances by the next generation of superstars, led by Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews, push him to remain in peak physical condition.

"I'm impressed, obviously," he said. "They do a very good job, all of those guys. That's why I have to be in shape. Those guys can catch you anytime."

Ovechkin will have either a nine- or 10-day break depending on whether he sits out the Jan. 23 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Feb. 1 clash with the Calgary Flames.

It's rare for an elite NHL player to get that much rest time during the middle of a season. Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has often skipped the event, though he's cited injuries as the reason.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 29 goals, and the Caps should both benefit from his decision to sit out the All-Star Game after seven prior appearances.

The NHL will have to replace him as the Metropolitan Division captain.

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