Capitals Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman have been named to the 2012 NHL All-Star roster. It will mark Ovechkin’s fifth all-star appearance and Wideman’s first.
It has not been the ideal first half of the season for Ovechkin, who has 17 goals and 16 assists and his 33 points rank him 48th in the league in scoring, but as some of the star left wing’s teammates acknowledged this morning it’s not really an All Star game without his presence.
Wideman is the surprise representative for Washington. He is third on the team in points (29) with eight goals and 21 assists this season and tied for fifth among all NHL defensemen in scoring.
The news of Ovechkin and Wideman making the All-Star roster comes along with the somewhat stunning absence of Nicklas Backstrom from the list.
Through the first half of the season Backstrom has been Washington’s most consistent and best player, as well as the team’s leading scorer with 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists).
It’s likely that Backstrom’s exclusion from the list could be the result of questions surrounding his health. Backstrom has missed three games and hasn’t skated for six consecutive days because of the concussion he suffered when elbowed to the jaw by Calgary’s Rene Bourque on Jan. 2. Backstrom’s status is formally listed as day-to-day by the team, but on Wednesday Coach Dale Hunter acknowledged that there is no timetable for the Swede’s return.
The 24-year-old center was placed in injured reserve Wednesday retroactive to Jan. 2 but could be activated from the list at any time.
There are a few big names missing from the All Star roster, like those of Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne. Turns out both of those veterans were invited to participate in the event but both asked to take the weekend off and the NHL obliged.
More on Ovechkin in all-star games:
— 2011: Ovi scores first goal, makes a little history
— 2009: Ovechkin gets some help from Malkin in win
— 2008: ‘Hockey baseball move’ in Breakaway Challenge
— 2007: Superslow in Superskills (Ovi Q&A transcript)
More from Post Sports:
— Dennis Wideman surprised by all-star nod
— Ovechkin says his game is coming back around
— Chimera scores as Capitals take 1-0 victory
— Fourth line helps shut the door on Penguins