Alexander Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews are pretty big names. They’ve been two of the most recognizable faces and great ambassadors of the sport, not to mention exceptionally gifted players. The new 3 on 3 All Star format would have been an ideal showcase of their talents and it really is too bad for the fans they won’t be going. Ovechkin (injury) and Toews (illness) both have legitimate reasons for skipping out on the weekend, yet league is still holding firm on its automatic one game suspension policy for any player selected to the game that misses.
I applaud the NHL for its steadfast consistency on this issue. I like the idea behind the rule and I like how it’s structured. If a player misses the regular season game immediately prior to the All Star break, he’s exempt. If he plays in that one, he’s expected to play in the Showcase. It’s black and white, and they’ve followed up and there shouldn’t be a problem with that. One game is a reasonable punishment because it’s not too much that a player who is legitimately injured will feel compelled to play, but it’s enough to make a player think twice about playing truant.
The laughable part though is that here’s a league taking a stand against its top players and how they owe the game. Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Crosby, Toews, Ovechkin, no one is above the league and we’ll come down on them the same as anyone else! But just a month earlier they were offering a grinder 1.5 million dollars or something just to NOT play. They wanted to treat John Scott and his family like royalty for the sole purpose of having him do anything but play.
If I was a superstar who in fact has done anything and everything the league has ever asked and yet I was actually being punished for an illness or an injury, I don’t know how I’d take that anymore.