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The Washington Capitals acquired T.J. Oshie in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on July 2, 2015, and in that time the right wing has become not only a fan favorite on and off the ice, but an integral part of the team’s morale and energy in the locker room. No. 77 has compiled a long list of accomplishments in his hockey career, including a Stanley Cup win, United States Olympian, and high school state championships.
During his time at the Lake Tahoe ACC Celebrity Golf tournament in July, Oshie sat down with the TorchPro Podcast to discuss his time in the NHL, Stanley Cup win, Olympic performance, and more.
Originally drafted by St. Louis with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Oshie spent the first seven seasons of his career in a Blues uniform.
“I didn’t go to the draft”, Oshie said, revealing he was not even watching the event on television, opting to watch something else entirely. “It was Road Rules/Real World Challenge [a show on MTV] I think, and I was just laying on the floor with a pillow behind my head. And my really, really close buddy…from Warroad, was, he’s more hockey-nerdish, like really pays attention and watches a lot.”
“So he’s just sitting there, with his dial-up internet, on his computer watching the names come…and he’s like ‘you’re drafted, you’re drafted!’, and I was like ‘alright dude show’s on’, and I had to do a bunch of interviews and stuff and I had to be pretty vague about which players I wanted to play with because I didn’t really know which players were on the Blues at the time…in my free time I was playing sports…so there was no time for me to be a fan, really.”
Oshie has played 474 games in Washington, and in that time has been witness to many moments involving Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Center Nicklas Backstrom. While he knows both players well, Oshie says he remains in awe of his longtime running mates.
“What stuck out to me about Ovi right away, is how much he enjoyed the team scoring goals”, Oshie responded, when asked about what he has learned about and from both players, “So no one wants to score more than he does, but I don’t think anyone gets more excited when his teammates score than he does either. It’s amazing, I think when I was younger, there’d be times where we’d be a game…it’d be a blowout like 7-2 and if I didn’t have a goal, I’d be like ‘man, what the heck’, instead of being happy for the guy who scored two or the defenseman who got his first goal in fifty games, so I kind of learned that from Ovi.”
Added Oshie: “I’m telling you there’s no one who gets more excited about his teammates scoring than he does.”
And then Backstrom’s mind is like made out of steel”, said Oshie, “he doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low. And I still really look up to that in him because even in just a period, there’s so many ups and downs in between your shifts, and he’s just always even-keeled. I love playing with him, but sometimes on the bench when I look over and he’s just had the same look, probably focusing on the game or thinking about the last shift, I’m like ‘gosh did I make him mad’, but no, he’s always like laser-focused, ready to rock no matter whether we scored or got scored on he’s the same way and that’s something I’m still trying to emulate a little bit…he keeps his emotions in check really well.”
The Caps secured their first-ever Stanley Cup on June 7, 2018, with Oshie playing an integral part in that run, recording 21 Points in 24 Games.
“It was the best. Short of the wedding day and having the kids, as far as an athlete goes, that was the best day, moment, feeling I’ve ever had for sure”, summarized Oshie. “There’s a lot of emotions you don’t think you have and then all of a sudden you get in the moment, you look out in the crowd, you’re holding the Cup over your head doing your lap, and it’s like you dream about that. In every dream that’s the end goal and to live it was really special.”
T.J.’s father Tim passed away in May 2021 after battling Alzheimer’s Disease for several years. The man known simply as “Coach” was an integral part of his hockey career.
“He was kind of everything”, reflected Oshie, “He got me into every sport you can think of. Back then we didn’t have iPads or anything like that, we had the GameBoy, but for the most part, if there was any downtime at the house we were playing catch, he played street hockey with us, playing basketball, so my whole life really revolved around sports…we spent all of our time doing that and he was my coach from the time I first started until high school, when we won the state championship, that’s the last time he coached me…he was such a great man…really cool guy and I miss him a lot.”
The full interview with Oshie can be watched below.
By Michael Fleetwood