Ovechkin again to skip All-Star Weekend
WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin has decided to skip NHL All-Star Weekend for the second consecutive year to get rested and ready for the second half of the regular season and playoffs.
The Washington Capitals star was voted in as Metropolitan Division captain by fan vote each of the past two seasons.
“I have to listen to my body,” Ovechkin said Friday night. “I have to get ready for the second half of the year. I have to be healthy and focus on different things. It’s a hard decision, obviously, being the captain and missing the All-Star Game, but have to do best for me and for my team.”
Ovechkin, at age 34, opted to prioritize extra rest over a trip to St. Louis in late January. He’ll be suspended one game for skipping All-Star festivities — either Jan. 18 at the New York Islanders or Jan. 27 at the Montreal Canadiens.
During his first 13 seasons, Ovechkin made seven All-Star appearances. That’s second most among active players, trailing only Chicago’s Patrick Kane, who has gone eight times.
Ovechkin also skipped All-Star Weekend in 2012 when he was suspended, 2016 and 2019.
On Friday night, the Capitals got 27 saves by rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov and an overtime power-play goal from T.J. Oshie to beat Columbus 2-1 and snap the Blue Jackets’ win streak at five.
The Capitals won without top-four defenseman Michal Kempny, who was out sick. Bouncing back from a 7-3 defeat in Boston before the break, they remained the only team in the league not to lose back-to-back games in regulation.
Sabres forward Skinner out 3-4 weeks
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner will miss three to four weeks because of an upper body injury.
The team did not provide any other details in announcing the update Saturday, a day after Skinner was injured in a 3-0 loss to Boston. Skinner did not return following a collision in which he led with his right shoulder while attempting to check Bruins forward David Pastrnak in front of the Sabres bench about four minutes into the third period. Skinner was slow to get up and immediately left the ice for the locker room.
The injury occurred during Skinner’s 700th career game, and following an offseason in which he signed an eight-year, $72 million contract in becoming Buffalo’s second highest-paid player.
Leafs’ Mikheyev out
at least 3 months
NEWARK, N.J. — Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Ilya Mikheyev had surgery to repair an artery and wrist tendons that were severed by a skate during a game against New Jersey.
He is expected to make a full recovery but there will be a better timeline for his return in three months. He is to remain at University Hospital in Newark for monitoring before returning to Toronto.
Mikheyev left the ice Friday night during the third period of Toronto’s 5-4 overtime victory. He was cut by the skate of New Jersey’s Jack Hughes and taken to the hospital with what the team called a “significant laceration.”