Dreger: NHL threatens to suspend absent All-Stars

Darren Dreger

1/23/2009 11:48:58 PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins have no intention of testing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's threat to suspend those who choose not show in Montreal for this weekends All-Star festivities.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is en route to Montreal and will arrive early this afternoon to fully participate in all off-ice All-Star activities.

The NHL says it will enforce an understanding that all players who decline to show after being named to the All-Star teams must miss at least one game before or one game after the All-Star weekend.

NHL vice-president Colin Campbell said that the league pushed for the rule because too many players were skipping the game without good reason.

''We've all got obligations to the fans, the rights holders - this game is being televised around the world,'' Campbell said.

Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk will have to sit out a game next week as punishment for skipping this weekends event. Neither player will lose salary.

''I feel bad for Nicklas Lidstrom,'' said Campbell. ''He's been here how many years now? It's unfair that he gets caught in this web.''

Detroit's next game is Tuesday night in Columbus.

The NHL's policy does not apply to players in Saturday's YoungStars game. The league says the YoungStars game was done consensually with the players who want to be there.