Ovechkin tells NHL he’s skipping All-Star Game

Alex Ovechkin, who was named the captain of the Metropolitan Division team for the All-Star Game on Jan. 26, has informed the NHL that he will skip the festivities to rest for the second half of the season.

The 33-year-old Washington Capitals captain leads the league with 29 goals.

“My body needs a rest,” he said after practice on Wednesday.

Deciding to skip the game means that Ovechkin will have to also sit out the game before or game after the contest, per NHL rules.

Ovechkin was chosen as a captain by fan vote, joining Auston Matthews (Atlantic), Connor McDavid (Pacific) and Nathan MacKinnon (Central). It’s not yet clear who will replace Ovechkin.

Ovechkin was looking at his his eighth All-Star appearance.

Ovechkin had been vocal about participating in the Olympics for his native Russia during last season, but league owners prevented NHL players from going. In the end, that may have helped Ovechkin, who was able to lead the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup.

The format for the All-Star event will follow last season’s with a four-team, 3-on-3 single-elimination tournament.

The All-Star Skills Competition will take place Jan. 25.

The NHL Hockey Operations Department will choose the remaining players for each roster.

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan contributed to this report.

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