Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said that “I feel like I’m ready to go” after training in Minnesota for the last month of the NHL Pause even though he was in the Washington area for a majority of it. “Training was good,” he added.
On the transition to the new normal, Oshie said, “it’s things we’re not used to.” He added that it is “not as comfortable wearing a mask” but is getting more normal. “It’s fine,” he said.
With meaningful games off the hop with a three-game round-robin tournament, which begins on August 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Toronto, Oshie thinks, “we’ll be a little more fresh.” He did acknowledge that “it’ll be different without fans” and that it will take some time to adjust with restrictions of celebrations after goals and wins.
On life inside the bubble in Toronto, he said, “honestly, I don’t really know.” He is not sure what he will do inside the bubble, but there will be a “lot of time on facetime” with family. He is hopeful he will be able to hang out with his teammates in the rooms. He “feel(s) like a kid again” with being in a hotel for a long time with teammates. Oshie said it will feel “different, but I’ll adjust” and that the Capitals always find ways to have fun.
“Timing is going to be the most difficult thing. … It’ll be hard transitioning into [Stanley Cup Playoff hockey],” Oshie thought.
Oshie thought the Capitals’ two trade deadline acquisitions of forward Ilya Kovalchuk (from the Montreal Canadiens) and defenseman Brenden Dillon (from San Jose Sharks) are both “fairly aware of systems.” He said that they “fit in perfectly,” especially Dillon. He feels like the two were here for a while despite getting acquired two (Kovalchuk) and three weeks (Dillon), respectively, before the season paused and hope they stay in Washington for a long time.
When not playing hockey, Oshie thinks there will be a “lot of video games (Mario Kart, which the team played on the road during their run to the Stanley Cup in 2018). … We’re still kids at heart.” He acknowledged that there are many card players on the team and added that goaltender Braden Holtby loves to play the guitar, so overall, Oshie feels that it will be “very easy” to come together as a team.
By Harrison Brown