This is becoming the week of no shows. Just yesterday, we had Tim Thomas staying away from the White House because of his non-political political beliefs. Now, we have Alex Ovechkin bowing out of the All Star Game because he is currently suspended from the regular season for three games.
Ovechkin isn’t suspended for the All Star Game, of course. He’s suspended for the regular season. Ovechkin could go, but is choosing not to, because he doesn’t want to be a distraction at the ASG.
It wasn’t long ago that hockey fans were complaining that Ovechkin hadn’t earned a slot in the ASG, considering his numbers. He has twenty goals and nineteen assists for 39 points, which aren’t bad numbers. But they aren’t standard Alex Ovechkin numbers, unless you consider he is on pace for more goals than he had last season.
“My heart is not there. I suspended, so why I have to go there?” Ovechkin said. “I love the game; it’s great event. I’d 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. If I suspended, I have to be suspended. That’s why I give up my roster [spot].”
There is almost always something lost in translation with Ovechkin, so I don’t know if he actually means wondering why he has to go to the game, and more of why he should go to the game.
Is his point being made? Does he actually have a point to make? The speculation and tin foil hats came out when Crosby didn’t go to the ASG because he was believed to be protesting the NHL’s stance on player safety and head shots. The NHL eventually changed their policy on head shots, but if Crosby wanted to publicly protest head shots, he could have said so. He could have eaten the potential fine for speaking out against the NHL, even if it wouldn’t have been a savvy PR move.
I don’t think there is much of a protest here. Ovechkin was suspended for a reckless hit on Zbynek Michalek, and he seems to accept the suspension, unlike Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. From his blog, Ted’s Take:
I do not agree in any way with the suspension of Alex Ovechkin for 3 games. I support Alex Ovechkin. He is our bedrock player – our Captain; and he and his family know that we are always here to support him.
Well, isn’t that nice? You support him? You are paying him enough, you should support him, but what that has to do with his suspension is beyond me.
The problem is that the All Star Game is looking less and less star-studded right now. There are more players bowing out and injured every day, and losing a player like Ovechkin certainly damages the luster of the game. But the All Star Game is nothing more than a commercial for the league. A poorly produced one at that. They need the stars to show up to make it a commercial worth watching.
But you can not tell me that the All Star Game is that important, when the league thinks this is a good idea for ASG entertainment.