Alexander Ovechkin is taking a pass on this year's All-Star Game in Ottawa.
The superstar forward made the announcement on Tuesday, one day after being suspended three games by the league for a hit to the head of Pittsburgh's Zbynek Michalek.
"I love the (All-Star) game, it's a great event and I love to be there, but I'm suspended and I don't want to be a target," Ovechkin told Comcast Sportsnet. "I feel that I don't deserve to be there right now. If I'm suspended I have to be suspended, so that's why I gave up my roster (spot).
"It's not about what I want, I don't deserve it right now. I'm suspended until February 4," he added.
Ovechkin has 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points in 47 games this season. His suspension does not preclude him from attending the All-Star Game.
The 26-year-old said that he does not agree with the discipline that he was given by the league.
"I don't think I deserve the three-game suspension for the hit that I did. Lots of guys make that hit, but it's not about that," explained Ovechkin. "It is what it is, and it's (Brendan) Shanahan's call."
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement about Ovechkin's All-Star status.
"In light of (Monday)'s suspension, we informed the Capitals that, while Alex Ovechkin was still welcome to participate in this weekend's All-Star festivities in Ottawa, we would not be insisting that he do so," said Daly. "We now understand that Alex has decided to withdraw from this weekend's events. Given the circumstances involved, we understand Mr. Ovechkin's decision in this regard, and have no intention of pursuing this matter further."
In 2009, the league suspended Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings for one game (with pay) after both players skipped the All-Star Game in Montreal. This year, Lidstrom and Anaheim Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne asked not to be chosen for the festivities.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said "No comment" when asked for reaction to the league allowing Ovechkin to pass on the All-Star Game.
Ovechkin was asked what he will do instead of playing in Ottawa this weekend.
"I'm going to support my teammates today, and then I'll be chilling, like I always do," he said.
No replacement has been named in Ovechkin's absence as yet.