Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will miss Tuesday night's game against the Nashville Predators with a left arm injury, traced back to a slash from Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson on Friday.
His coach Joel Quenneville said Toews was "unlikely" to participate in the NHL All-Star Game this weekend in Ottawa. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported on Monday night that Toews has been ruled out of the game.
Alas, no defending his shot accuracy title in 2012, which he won in that controversial "do over" in Raleigh last year. (As controversial as a skills competition can get.)
Who replaces Toews? The warring factions of Team Scott Hartnell and Team James Neal are already preparing for their "Gangs of New York"-style brawl. (Team Loui Eriksson awaits word on Jamie Benn.)
Or maybe they both get in. That's because McKenzie and Darren Dreger of TSN are speculating that Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who was suspended by the NHL for three games on Monday after "launching" himself into Zbynek Michalek, will skip the All-Star Game. (Paul Kukla has their comments.)
Ovechkin is eligible for the All-Star Game despite the suspension. From Capitals columnist Mike Vogel of Dump 'n Chase, who hopes Ovie opts out of the game:
Naturally, the league wants Ovechkin to play in the All-Star game. Me, I wonder why he should.
He is suspended without pay. He was not voted into the All-Star game by the fans. He is currently tied for 36th in the league in scoring and was quite clearly named to the game for his star appeal more than his 2011-12 résumé.
Ovechkin was quoted as saying that he had to cancel vacation plans when he was somewhat surprisingly named as an all-star anyway, so now that he is suspended without pay, why shouldn't he be able to do as he was planning on doing, do what most NHL players do during the break.
Dreger doesn't expect the NHL to discipline Ovechkin if he pulls out of the game.
So for all you All-Stars that have games this week and want out of your obligations: Just slam-dance some dude's noggin against the glass. It'll cost you some dough but hey, you get to sleep in your own bed this weekend! And -- bonus -- you're rich and can afford the hit!