Capitals' Kuznetsov, Predators' Neal added to All-Star Game

BY foxsports • January 28, 2016

Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov will take the place of injured teammate Alex Ovechkin and New York Islanders stud John Tavares will serve as captain of the Metropolitan Division representatives in the NHL All-Star Game, the league announced Thursday.

Nashville Predators forward James Neal was also added to the Central Division roster, replacing Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (illness). Ovechkin, who will join Toews in serving mandatory one-game suspensions for exiting Sunday's All-Star Game, announced on Wednesday that he is nursing a lingering lower-body injury.

Via Monumental Network:

"It's a special moment for me, of course, and it means a lot for my parents. But you never can get there without your team and without the people who work for your team. But I'm pretty excited for sure, and it's a special moment for my parents and my family"

Kuznetsov will be playing in his first NHL All-Star Game and joins teammates Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby along with coach Barry Trotz in the exhibition contest in Nashville, Tenn.

Kuznetsov has scored 15 goals to go along with his team-leading 34 assists and 49 points for the league-best Capitals (35-8-4). The 23-year-old Russian's plus-24 rating is tied with Detroit Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin and Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli for tops in the NHL.

Tavares has recorded 16 goals and 18 assists for the Islanders (25-16-6), who enter the All-Star break on a 3-1-1 run. The top overall pick of the 2009 draft, Tavares has scored 190 goals and set up 245 others in 476 career contests - all with New York.

Neal has collected 18 goals and 12 assists for the Predators (24-18-8), who are also sending goaltender Pekka Rinne and defensemen Roman Josi and captain Shea Weber to the All-Star Game.