WASHINGTON, DC — Great teams and players learn from their mistakes, and the Washington Capitals certainly did just that, judging by how the team handled T.J. Oshie’s latest return from injury. Last year, there was some concern around Oshie’s return from a similar injury, that it was too quick, as he ended up only recording two goals in his next 32 games.
This time they took things slowly, allowing him to miss 11 games, with an upper-body injury (read concussion). But now, T.J. Oshie is finally back in the Washington Capitals lineup and his teammates and fans couldn’t be happier.
He started out passing the puck around with his old linemates Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin and it was easy to tell he was chomping at the proverbial bit.
But the fans at Capital One Arena were nervous through the first period, as Oshie, who is never one to shy away from the gritty parts of the game, got tossed around early. He even absorbed an accidental him from his own captain.
Ovi’s first hit of the night. RIP Oshie pic.twitter.com/AL2ja2AYS0
— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) December 12, 2018
But by all accounts, T.J. Oshie has returned in top form. He even scored in the second period padding the teams already sizable lead.
The bottom line, being patient has paid off for both Oshie and the Capitals’ organization. And to those that might say they did this because they had the luxury of it being December and not April, the Capitals remain atop the Metropolitan Division 30 games into the season.
“I felt good, so what we did paid off,” T.J. Oshie said about being patient and taking the time he needed to fully recover. “We took it slow, I got in a week of bag skates so legs-wise I felt pretty good out there.”
In the long run, this move will hopefully position Oshie to have long-term success throughout this season. Let’s not forget Oshie is only one and a half seasons into his eight-year, $46 million-dollar deal, signed in 2017, so the team has both a responsibility and vested interest in limiting the impact of these types of injuries on his future career.
By Charlie DiPasquale