Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will miss the 2016 NHL All-Star Game due to a lower-body injury that would be better served by rest, the team announced through a press release.
Ovechkin, who was slated to captain the Metropolitan Division squad in the 3-on-3 game, logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time and attempted six shots in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov will replace his teammate on the Metropolitan roster, and the New York Islanders' John Tavares will take over as captain, the NHL said Thursday.
Head coach Barry Trotz indicated that his star player has been dealing with the injury since mid-November and called pulling Ovechkin a "long-term" organizational decision with the pursuit of the franchise's first Stanley Cup in mind.
It was made in consultation with Ovechkin and the Capitals front office, coaching and athletic training staffs.
"We have to make the right decision," Trotz said. "You don't win a Stanley Cup. You don't get two points for [the All-Star] Game. You get prize money. For us, it's not about the prize money. We have a bigger goal, and if we want to get to where we want to get to, we can't do it without Alex Ovechkin being 100 per cent."
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 because he's skipping the All-Star Game.
The 30-year-old left wing who was picked as an All-Star for the seventh time hoped a week-long break would heal the injury, but instead it may have aggravated it.
"We talk about it maybe last couple weeks and last week it was very serious, should I go, should I not go," Ovechkin said. "The snowstorm came and it felt like maybe it's going to help and it doesn't. [I] clean my house and it's my bad decision."
With the end of the regular season in sight, Ovechkin can no longer attempt to play through pain or injury.
"It's basically like if you have injury, you have to do all the treatments to take care of yourself," Ovechkin said. "In a game, sometimes you have to just forget about it and play. Sometimes I just feel not that bad and sometimes I feel bad and I just kind of settle down and sit on the bench and look at Trotz and say, 'It's not that good."'