Oshie’s Presence Is Key to Caps’ Success

Posted March 30, 2016

(Caps Outsider)

T.J. Oshie has only been with the Caps for one season, but his presence has made a big difference. Not the biggest or the fastest skater on the ice, Oshie possesses a sense of the game that makes him one of the smartest hockey players in the NHL.  And he works hard.  He knows that to make a run for the Stanley Cup means more than just practicing on ice drills and endurance training—it’s strategy.

“The game of hockey changes so much from October to April.  The tricky little plays you use in the beginning, teams have had a whole season to learn about you, to defend them,”  Oshie explained after the Caps 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Monday.  “Unless a team evolves and makes changes they won’t do well in the playoffs.”

Monday’s win cliched the President’s Trophy for the Caps. Oshie, who had never experienced winning the President’s Trophy before, explained the team’s take on that honor.

“The guys in here are proud of what we did.  It’s a big accomplishment.  I think everyone’s more eager to pat each other on the back, move on and keep growing our game for the playoffs,” he said.  “We know how hungry this town is for playoffs and we’re right there with them, so we want our game to be in tip top shape here in seven or eight games.”

Oshie continued to break down why winning the president’s Trophy should be viewed as a learning experience for the team and a vehicle to the playoffs.

“I think we can look at it like, if we play great hockey, we have the potential to be the best team in the league.  It’s a long season to be the best team for that 82 games.  That’s special and something to be proud of.  Hopefully, we can use that as confidence and motivation moving forward, “ he said.

Oshie missed back-to-back games last weekend due to illness.  Despite the Caps win last Friday 1-0 in OT against the New Jersey Devils, they looked out of sync.  They were shut out against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday playing arguably their worse game of the season.  They were off balance, and a big part of that was Oshie’s absence.  Fortunately, he returned in a big way Monday scoring a goal to contribute to the win.

“I think we played pretty good tonight.  It took me a couple of shifts to get my legs underneath me, maybe they never did, but it was good to be back out there,” Oshie laughed. “It’s fun watching it on TV, but not nearly as fun as playing.”

See Oshie and the Caps take on the Flyers in Philadelphia Wednesday at 8:00 pm on NBCSN.