The NHL All-Star game will go on without one of the league’s top stars this weekend.
After testing positive for COVID-19, Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will miss the NHL All-Star game as mandated by the league’s current protocols. The Capitals announced Ovechkin’s diagnosis on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of the Capitals matchup with the Oilers.
Capitals teammate Tom Wilson replaces Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin on the Metropolitan Division roster, the NHL announced.
Ovechkin was voted as captain for the Metropolitan Division team for the matchup this weekend, and received the most votes among all NHL players. Despite the confirmation of the captain’s absence for the third-consecutive All Star game, the league hasn’t announced any potential replacements.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is unavailable tonight versus the Edmonton Oilers due to the NHL COVID-19 protocol. Based on a positive test result, Ovechkin will not participate in the 2022 NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 2, 2022
About a day before Ovechkin tested positive, the NHL and NHLPA released their plan to revise the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Each team can now remove daily testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals and “enhanced measures” for COVID-19 prevention and detection, according to a statement from the league that was issued on Monday. The updated protocols are taking effect following each team’s final game before the NHL All-Star break.
Per the league’s older protocols, Ovechkin is required to isolate for five days before he can return to the team with a negative PCR test and evaluation from the team physician. All players, including asymptomatic fully vaccinated players, were still required to test daily.
With Ovechkin testing positive ahead of the Capitals game against the Oilers on Wednesday, the team’s final contest before the break, the league’s top forward is unable to return and make his eighth appearance at the All-Star game in Las Vegas.
He was previously placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol-related absences list night after he and several members of the Capitals gathered in a hotel room during a recent trip in violation of league protocols. Players are prohibited from practicing or playing while on the list, and they can be taken off the list at any time.
Ovechkin, 36, was voted as an All-Star 12 times and has played in the game seven times. He has 29 goals and 29 assists this season and is fifth in the league overall with 58 points.
Although Ovechkin will not be present in Las Vegas, the All-Star game is still expected to start with skills competitions on Friday night. The events will continue into the weekend with challenges followed by the official All-Star game which is slated to start at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.