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Ovechkin calls All-Star captaincy 'huge honor'

NHL.com @NHL

Alex Ovechkin already this season became the top Russian goal-scorer in NHL history and is about to reach 500 in his career.

Saturday, the Washington Capitals forward added a captain's role at this month's 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

Ovechkin, who has 21 goals and 13 assists in 36 games this season, was thankful for the selection, voted by fans.

"It's a huge honor," said Ovechkin, who will play in his sixth All-Star Game. "It's always nice to see when people are voting for you."

Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes are the first four players to earn spots into the All-Star Game in Nashville on Jan. 31 in the 2016 NHL All-Star Fan Vote, and will serve as captains of their respective divisions.

Kane had a 26-game point streak this season and heading into play Saturday led the NHL with 56 points. It will be his fifth All-Star Game.

"I just found out right before practice," Kane said. "I don't know if I expected to be a captain of an All-Star team, but it's pretty cool."

Jagr reached No. 4 on the NHL goals list when he scored his 732nd on Dec. 21.A 13-time All-Star Game selection had joked on Twitter about the new 3-on-3 format being too taxing for his 43-year-old body.

???I???think he talked about it a month ago that the 3-on-3 might kill him for a whole game, but he???s having fun with it," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "I'm sure once he goes there, it'll be a lot fun, he'll enjoy himself. It's a great honor. He's having a great year. He's a future Hall of Fame hockey player and it's well-deserved."

Scott would play in his first All-Star Game.

"It's one of those things where it's a grind, and just to get a little recognition is fun," Scott told FOX Sports Arizona. "I hope all the guys who have been in my position can take a little grasp of this and say, 'We did something.'"

From Dec. 1 through Jan. 1, fans around the world were able to cast their votes at NHL.com/vote and via a mobile ballot for one player from each of the four divisions, with the top vote-getter for each division earning an All-Star berth as division captain.

Ovechkin, who has 496 NHL goals, finished first among all players in the Metropolitan Division, Kane topped the Central, Jagr led the Atlantic, and Scott paced the Pacific.

Fans were permitted to select as few as one player and a maximum of four players per ballot, without regard to position. The maximum number of ballots cast per day for each user was 10.

As part of the new format for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game, the All-Stars will take part in a three-game tournament, played in a 3-on-3 format, and featuring four teams representing each NHL division.

"I think that's what everybody's talking about this year, is how exciting the overtimes are and how exciting it is to watch 3-on-3 hockey, so you're going to get a lot of skilled guys out there, you're going to see a lot of goals," Kane said. "It's going to be fun for the fans to watch, just like it would be in overtime. I think it's now on the players just to play hard and make sure that we're having fun, whether it's competing offensively or making sure we try and put a good show on for the fans."

The remaining 40 players for the four All-Star rosters, which consists of six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders per team, will be determined by the NHL Hockey Operations Department and announced on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The coach of the team with the highest points percentage (points earned divided by total possible points) in each of the four divisions through games of Saturday, Jan. 9, the halfway point of the regular season, will coach the All-Stars.

The Capitals, coached by Barry Trotz, are second in the League and lead the Metropolitan Division with 58 points.

"Hopefully I'm going to have a lot more ice time if [Barry] is going to be there," Ovechkin said. "Or less ice time. We'll see."

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