Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson and goaltender Braden Holtby were selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25 in St. Louis, the league announced Monday. This will be Carlson’s second time participating in the event and Holtby’s fifth straight.

Alex Ovechkin was voted the Metropolitan Division captain by fans, but he decided he would not attend, citing his desire to stay physically ready for the second half of the season and the playoffs. Ovechkin, who has 38 points (24 goals, 14 assists) in 40 games, will be suspended for one game preceding or following the all-star break.

“It’s a hard decision, but I have to listen to my body,” Ovechkin said Friday. “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.”

Washington, which plays its final game of the decade Tuesday afternoon against the Islanders, has an eight-point lead over New York in the division. If the Capitals are still in first place at the season’s halfway point in early January, Washington Coach Todd Reirden will coach the division’s team at the All-Star Game. Reirden coached in the All-Star Game for the first time last year.

Carlson is a Norris Trophy front-runner, with 50 points (13 goals, 37 assists) in 40 games. He became the first defenseman to reach the 50-point mark in 40 games or fewer since Paul Coffey in 1994-95.

“That’s obviously no surprise to anyone,” Holtby said of Carlson’s selection. “It’s good. It’s fun to share it with him and spend some time with him. He’s obviously having an unbelievable season. So he’s got some pressure on him now [to win] the hardest shot [competition] again.”

Holtby, who is on an expiring contract, is 17-6-4 with a 2.95 goals against average and .904 save percentage. He said he was a bit surprised with the selection but is honored to be chosen.

“It’s one of those things I never really put too much thought into it, so I didn’t know when they were announcing it,” he said. “I don’t know. I never really think about things like that.”

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