Toews, Ovechkin Out of All-Star Game; Neal, Kuznetsov In

In the annual tradition of the league’s top players getting injured in their last game before the All-Star break, both Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin were injured this week. Neither will be healthy enough to appear in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

Both receive a one-game suspension for missing the game, which will be served in the league’s first game back from the All-Star Break.

In their place, the league will have Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nashville’s James Neal join the game.

Kuznetsov is not appointed because Washington needs a rep. The Capitals already have both Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby as a part of the game. Kuznetsov is having a fantastic year and was overlooked on the first pass of roster selection. He currently has 15 goals and 49 points in 47 games.

Neal is the fourth player from Nashville to get onto the team, in part because the game is being held in Nashville. But Neal is having a solid year as well, with 18 goals and 30 points in 50 games.

Both Neal and Kuznetsov will be punished with the loss of a vacation weekend. Neal is being placed on house arrest in Nashville and Kuznetsov will be forced to pretend he knows who Vince Gill is for three days.

The All-Star Game skills competition will be held on Saturday January 30 and the game itself will take place on Sunday January 31.

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