The 33-year-old Ovechkin, who would have been taking part in his eighth All-Star Game, has played in all 33 games this season and leads the Washington Capitals with 45 points. Ovechkin’s 29 goals lead the league. Per NHL rules, the Russian captain will be suspended and have to sit out one game — either directly before the All-Star break (Jan. 23 at Toronto) or directly after (Feb. 1 against Calgary).
Jack Eichel is the Sabres’ lone representative, despite the team’s impressive turnaround from last place in 2017-18 to their current status in a playoff position.
The Lightning, who lead the league with 64 points and a plus-51 goal differential, already have two representatives: Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
One remaining spot in each division will be filled through the 2019 NHL All-Star Last Men In presented by Adidas fan vote. Voting opens at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 10.
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