COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 24:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Team Foligno bats the puck during the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge event of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena on January 24, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin out of the All Star Game with an injury

The National Hockey League had such grand plans for their new 3-on-3 All Star format. They were going to inject new life into a game that had increasingly grown stale. But there’s one problem: The “Star” in “All-Star” was subject to an increasingly liberal definition. This year’s extravaganza in Nashville already had an image problem with the John Scott situation, yet the games will feature Scott … and no Sidney Crosby. And now the game takes another hit: Alex Ovechkin isn’t making the trip.

Alex Ovechkin will miss the 2016 NHL All-Star Game due to a lower-body injury that would be better served by rest, the Washington Capitals announced today. The decision was made in consultation with Ovechkin and the Capitals front office, coaching and athletic training staffs.

“We made this difficult decision after taking into consideration what we felt was best for Alex and our organization,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “Alex has been an incredible ambassador for our team and the league, but we believe it is better if he uses this time to heal and ideally be completely healthy for the duration of the season.”

Ovechkin’s playing status is day-to-day, but by NHL rule, he will be required to sit out the Capitals Feb. 2 game against Florida.

Who knows just how serious this injury is. But it’s serious enough for the Caps to take the hit by sitting him out for a regular season game in order to get him rest over the All-Star break. The Capitals can’t have this become a nagging thing as they need him to be at his very best down the stretch and in the playoffs. The last thing Caps fans need is to see their team become a runaway train in the first half of the season, only to have their star limp across the finish line when it counts and see perhaps their best chance in years to hoist the Cup go “poof”.

So by all means, Ovechkin needs to rest as his first loyalty is to the Caps. But man, this is not what the NHL needed to happen to their brand spanking new All-Star game. Not after the big hubbub about getting … of all people … John Scott into the weekend. I mean, no pressure Johnny. But I doubt very highly that you could pull this off:

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