Ovechkin received a three game suspension for leaping at Zbynek Michalek of the Pittsburgh Penguins last Sunday when he hit Michalek in the head as he left his feet, with another 'cheap shot.'
Ovechkin, 26, was not assessed a penalty on the play, but it was reviewed by NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan of the disciplinary committee and they took into consideration that this was not his first suspension for such actions.
This was the third suspension that Ovechkin has received since joining the NHL, he received a two game suspension in 2009 for an illegal hit to Carolina's Tim Gleason and another in March 2010 for a "reckless" boarding infraction to Chicago player Brian Campbell.
Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times reports:
"My heart is not there. I [got] suspended, so why I have to go there?" Ovechkin said. "I love the game; it's great event. I'd love to be there, but I'm suspended. I don't want to be a target. I feel I'm not deserving to be there right now. If I suspended, I have to be suspended. That's why I give up my roster [spot]."
Some may think that three games is nothing, but based on his salary of $9 million
per year that is a fine of over $300,000. I hope he finally gets the message, head hits are not allowed.
He has not been as strong a player this year as he has in the past and his benching by then coach, Bruce Boudreau this season ended with Boudreau being fired, but had nothing to do with 'OV' benching.
The Tim Horton's NHL All-Star Game
weekend gets underway Thursday in Ottawa and the big game will be played Sunday afternoon at 4pm on CBC, RDS, NBC Sports Networks.
Players picked for the All-Star Game
are chosen by fan balloting with players representing every NHL team. Toronto Maple Leafs will be represented by Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, but Kessel was added as a top scorer, not a fan favorite.
OV' has attended four All-Star games in the past and is still one of the top players in the league with 20 goals
so far this season.
The NHL All-Star game which takes place this weekend in Ottawa, Ontario will bring together the best of the NHL for their mid-winter break.