BALLSTON, Va. - Less than 24 hours after the league suspended Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for three games, Ovechkin and General Manager George McPhee said that they were "disappointed" with the NHL's decision and announced that the former will not attend the All-Star Game this weekend.
"My heart is not there," Ovechkin said in regards to the All-Star Game. "I got suspended, so why I have to go there? I love the game. [The All-Star Game] is a great event. I love to be there, but I'm suspended. I don't want to be a target. I feel I'm not deserving to be there right now. I got suspended. I have to be suspended so that's why I give up my roster [spot]."
What seemed to bother Ovechkin about the league's decision was that it will follow him for the rest of his career after he believed that his hit on Zbynek Michalek Sunday was not a dirty one.
"I was disappointed, actually," Ovechkin said. "I don't think it was a bad hit or dirty hit. Yeah, I jumped, but [Michalek] don't get hurt, I don't get two minutes. I don't think it was a three-game suspension."
McPhee echoed Ovechkin's sentiments about both issues.
"I was surprised and disappointed," McPhee said in regards to the three-game ruling. "I didn't anticipate he'd be suspended for three games. We presented our case to the league yesterday and I thought we did real well, but didn't get the result we wanted."
McPhee said he thought the hit might warrant a fine or a one-game suspension, but when it went to three, he "was pretty disappointed."
"Because he's a suspended player, he doesn't feel like he deserves to be there, so he's not going to go," McPhee said about Ovechkin's decision not to attend the All-Star Game, which he supports. "He doesn't want to be a distraction to the event."
Ovechkin will now sit out the next three games and cannot return until February 4, but he knows what he plans to do with his mandated time off.
"Right now, I'm going to support my teammates today," Ovechkin said as his teammates prepare for the Boston Bruins Tuesday. "After that, chilling, like I always do."