29 January 2012

Should Alex Ovechkin be in Ottawa at the NHL All-Star Game?

The headlines at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa have surrounded one of the sports' biggest stars who chose to not come to the ceremonies and play in the exhibition. Alex Ovechkin is in the midst of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit on Zbynek Michalek and even though the suspension did not count for an exhibition like the All-Star Game, he chose not to come, saying "I feel that I'm not deserving to be [in Ottawa] right now. If I'm suspended, I have to be suspended. That's why I give up my roster [spot]."

So the question at hand is should he be here?

What I find to be interesting is that the NHL's chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, who gave Ovechkin his suspension, does not seem entirely opposed to Ovechkin's decision, unlike many players. "I think I respect it," he said.

While I do respect Ovechkin's decision that he should not be there because of his suspension (if this was any other player it would not have been a big deal save for Sidney Crosby), I personally feel that Ovechkin should be playing in the game. If he can play, he should play. His non-appearance is taking away from the game as its top star who is healthy is not there on his own volition. Folks in Ottawa paid big money for the chance to see stars like Ovechkin, who they do not see very often due to how the NHL schedule is set up. And the fans chose Ovechkin to be there, not going kind of disrespects them a bit considering they do not get the chance to use their vote for someone else.

Now if this were an injury that made his decision that's a different story of course. But if the league says you can play, you are able to play and the fans want you to play, you should play.

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