Caps News Network has the story here.
"I am grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the YoungStars Game last year. This year I felt like it made more sense for me to give someone else that opportunity and use this time to rest and prepare for the second half of the season with the Washington Capitals. I can assure Caps fans that I’m not injured and will be ready to go Tuesday in Boston."
Good for Backstrom. The YoungStars game is not a marquee event this year, and there is some truth in what Backstrom says.
Last year, it was Western Rookies vs. Eastern Rookies. Now, it's Rookies vs. Sophomores. I think the NHL is making a critical error. Instead of having a platform to showcase the best rookies from each conference, they now have a game that is just a handful of rookies and guys we've already seen.
I'd rather the YoungStars game be filled with all-rookie squads so that fans can become familiar with some of these new names. It seems like with each draft since the lockout rookies have made bigger splashes in the NHL than years before. Instead of having a whole draft class in the AHL, we have numerous rookies who are playing on a nightly basis for their main clubs.
Perhaps the NHL would consider putting an NHL squad of rookies against an AHL squad of rookies for the YoungStars game. Makes sense. Players like Oskar Osala who are tearing up in the AHL won't crack the NHL rosters for at least a year, why not give the world a sneak peak at the them?
As much as I'd love to see Backstrom play in an All-Star game event, I think the game he deserves to be in is the real All-Star game, not some circus sideshow.