On Tuesday, Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie spoke to the media during the players’ exit interviews following Sunday’s Game 5 loss to the Boston Bruins, which eliminated the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs for the third consecutive season. He discussed the expansion draft in July and the unknowns of what comes next for the team.
“Playoff time, you need to be playing your best hockey,” Oshie said. He explained how the Capitals were not playing “at a high enough level” in different areas against the Bruins.
He did suffer an injury late in the season to which he called a “little tweak” in the midsection area. Oshie said he did “feel good enough to get the job done.” No surgery will be required, according to him, and he hopes to begin training in a few weeks.
On the Kraken expansion draft on July 21, Oshie has not been dwelling on the possibility of going to Seattle, but it has crossed his mind. “I signed an 8-year deal here [Washington] because this is where I want to spend the rest of my career and retire here,” he said, adding that he understands the “business side of things.”
Oshie said, “I’ve approached every day since I’ve been here like this is going to be the last team I will ever play for, and I think I’ve done a decent job proving that…I don’t feel like I’m slowing down at all.” He later added, “People can make assumptions about what I want to do or what I would like. People bring up the “C”…that stuff’s not that important to me. This is where I want to be with my buddies, my family, my kids are growing up in schools here, this is where I love to play hockey.”
“I think it takes its toll a little bit,” he said regarding the schedule of the 56-game season and the protocols involved. Oshie said the past couple of days have been “tough.” “It’s a lot better when you’re hungover from celebrating for sure,” he said, referencing their 2018 Championship. Oshie said there will “hard questions” and “tough goodbyes.”
He is “hopeful something will get done” about captain Alex Ovechkin‘s contract and future with the Capitals. “I think Ovi loves it here. I think Ovi wants to stay here forever. I think they want him here forever.”
Oshie has “no doubt at all” that the Capitals can win another Stanley Cup next season. “If you knew these guys [as] I did…I don’t know if it matters how old this core gets…As long as this core’s here, I think we have a real shot to win the Cup.”
He said goaltender Vitek Vanecek did “a great job” in his rookie season with the team. “He’s a great kid, he works really hard, he’s a great goaltender, and he never gives up whether that’s in practice or in a game,” Oshie said. He mentioned Vanecek was “unbelievable” early in the season and stepped up when multiple guys were out of the lineup.
Caps fans we definitely missed you guys this year. Thanks for watching at home and thx to those that got to come to Cap One. Your support me on the sports and human side mean more than a tweet can explain. Stay safe and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the fall. #ALLCAPS
— TJ Oshie (@TJOshie77) May 24, 2021
By Della Young