Jonathan Toews joins Alex Ovechkin on sideline at All-Star Game

Jonathan Toews, center, will sit out the All-Star Game due to illness. Bill Smith/Getty Images

First Alex Ovechkin, now Jonathan Toews. The Chicago Blackhawks' captain became the latest star to pull out of the NHL All-Star Game, citing illness.

Nashville Predators forward James Neal replaces Toews on the Central Division team, the league announced. Evgeny Kuznetsov replaces his Washington Capitals teammate on the Metropolitan team. New York Islanders forward John Tavares takes over as captain for Ovechkin, who is nursing a lower-body injury.

"[Toews] was pulled from Tuesday night's third period because of an illness and remains symptomatic today," Blackhawks team physician Michael Terry said in a statement released to the media. "At this time, rest over the break is most important for him to properly recover and be fully healthy heading into the rest of the regular season."

The NHL is debuting a 3-on-3 All-Star tournament this year to replace the traditional game. It takes place Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee.

By rule, if a player skips the All-Star Game, he must also sit out the first game immediately after the contest. Ovechkin will miss Washington's Feb. 2 game against Florida, while Toews will sit out Chicago's game at Colorado the same day. The league wants to discourage its stars from skipping the contest. Sidney Crosby pulled out last year due to an injury and was forced to miss a game. Although they must sit, the league is not docking pay of those players.

Toews did not play the third period of the Blackhawks' game against Carolina on Tuesday with the undisclosed illness.