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Alex Ovechkin’s suspension hurts the NHL far more than it helps

01/06/2019
Frank Curto

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin’s suspension hurts the NHL and its fans more than any possible positive consequence actually helps.

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is 33-years-old. He has been selected to play in the NHL All-Star game in San Jose at the end of January but has decided to skip the event citing reasons of rest.

The NHL will suspend him for one league game as a result.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed that the league policy stipulates that a player refusing to play in the All-Star Game must sit out a game immediately before or after the All-Star break. Ovi can either sit out for the Caps game in Toronto on Jan. 23 or their game at home against the Calgary Flames on Feb. 1. The Capitals have their bye week (another ridiculous agreement) following the All-Star Game which explains the gap of time between games.

Someone needs to explain who the suspension hurts more, the player or the fans?

NHL

The fans in San Jose on All-Star weekend may be disappointed that Ovechkin is skipping the event, but there are going to be plenty of All-Stars there to compete. The entertainment value will be high as there should be plenty of scoring and ‘Razzle Dazzle’ between the skills competition and the 3-on-3 tournament games that Sunday.

The fans in Toronto and/or Washington are the ones who suffer the most from this decision.

The Toronto contest is a conference battle as the two teams currently are separated by just three points (Caps: 51 Points, Maple Leafs: 54 Points).

What’s more disturbing is the way the NHL is ignoring the responsibilities it as to their television sponsor, NBC Sports. The Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game is scheduled to be showcased on NBCSN on Jan. 23 as part of their “Wednesday Night“ doubleheader, which also has Nashville visiting Vegas in the second game. The game was billed as Ovechkin vs. John Tavares. Now, it might lose all of the drama built up if Ovechkin chooses to sit that game.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If Ovechkin chooses to sit out the game at home against Calgary, the fans in Washington, who paid a lot of money to see their captain play, will have lost the opportunity to see him battle against the Flames and players such as Johnny Gaudreau.

Excuse me, can someone explain how this benefits anyone involved with the National Hockey League? Just because the league can suspend a player for missing the game, doesn’t mean they have to.

The National Hockey League has had it issues with Ovechkin, most recently their dispute over the league’s players going to the Olympics. The Capitals captain had threatened to disobey the leagues ruling and play for Team Russia if he was invited by the Russian to play with them. An agreement with the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and the NHL prevented the invite, but could this be some form of backlash from that time?

Regardless of why the fans are the ones who will suffer the most. A pretty poor agreement when the collective bargaining deal was brokered between the NHL and NHLPA. This, all coming from an All-Star game that resembles more of an end of practice competition than a true hockey game.

So we all wait to see which game Ovi decides to sit out. He is in a bad spot since he has to make the decision.

Thanks for not thinking of the fans or the television partners. The NHL will not come out looking good after the dust settles on this one.

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