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|12 января 2008
Ovechkin Earns All-Star Berth; Green Omitted // Washington Post
By Tarik El-Bashir
Less than a day after signing a record-setting contract extension, Alex Ovechkin was given another reason to celebrate: The left wing will represent the Washington Capitals in the All-Star Game for the second straight year.
Although he was expecting to be named as a reserve, Ovechkin was excited just the same.
"It's a big honor for me to be an all-star," he said. "The best players will be there, and I want to be there, too."
Mike Green, however, received disappointing news as he unlaced his skates after practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. He had been left off the Eastern Conference roster, despite being tied for the league lead among defensemen with 11 goals through Thursday's games. Green was edged out by Buffalo's Brian Campbell, Pittsburgh's Sergei Gonchar, Toronto's Tomas Kaberle and Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen, who had been named reserves by the NHL's hockey operations department. (Fans voted Andrei Markov of Montreal and Zdeno Chara of Boston into the starting lineup Tuesday.)
"I'm disappointed," said Green, who played in the YoungStars game in Dallas last year. "But it's an honor just to be considered. I wanted to go, obviously. I'm just going to keep doing what I was doing before."
Green's exclusion upset some of his teammates and irked his coach.
"Shame on them," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's going to make it for a lot years to come. He's starting to come into his own."
Ovechkin started last year's game, but will come off the bench Jan. 27 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
After speaking briefly about becoming the 11th player in Capitals history to be named to multiple all-star games, the subject turned to the eyebrow-raising 13-year, $124 million extension he had signed on Thursday.
Ovechkin also received some good-natured ribbing from his teammates.
"Of course, there are lots of jokes about it," he said as veteran goaltender Olie Kolzig walked into the locker room singing, "I'm in the money, I'm in the money."
Ovechkin chuckled. "See the jokes?" he said.
Colorado Avalanche right wing Marek Svatos said he was not surprised by Ovechkin's historic deal. The Avalanche was defeated by the Capitals, 2-1, on Wednesday but remained in the Washington area for two days before heading to Raleigh, N.C.
"It's good for him," Svatos said. "He's a great player, and he deserves it. It's going to pay off for the Capitals in the long run. Players' salaries are going back up, so teams have to pay the guys who deserve the money. He's making lots of money for his team and for the league. He's bringing people in the building."
On Thursday, Ovechkin admitted that he had been distracted by the media speculation about his future in Washington. Now his mind is at ease.
"I always sleep good," Ovechkin said. "But it was a little bit better