TJ Oshie

When T.J. Oshie went to bed on Saturday night in Russia, he did so after taking six shootout attempts in an Olympic hockey game, scoring on four of those, carrying the American men’s hockey team to victory over the host country, being mentioned in a tweet by The White House, and having slain and eaten a unicorn raw. (Can’t confirm last part, just rumors so far. David Booth will be jealous if it’s true.)

It was a good day.

As you likely know, after three attempts in the shootout you can send whoever you want in international play, and the Americans had planned before the tournament started to ride Oshie if they found themselves in that situation, mostly because he’s nails in the shootout (unlike that slug Patrick Kane). The craziest thing about Oshie’s six shootout attempts: his two best moves were the ones he didn’t score on (one great save, one missed net).

Anyway, I’m a bit familiar with Oshie from playing him in the WCHA when he was at North Dakota. He was four years younger than me and six times better, so naturally I hate him. (Not really.)

If you’re not familiar with him, I thought I’d help him out. His Twitter following grew like the Grinch’s heart at the end of that movie, so apparently people are interested in him.

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He has great mitts

The U.S. didn’t pick Oshie to go in the shootout on a whim, then see him score and decide to ride him. He’s currently second among active NHLers in shootout percentage (among guys who’ve taken at least 20 attempts). He’s 25 for 46, and he’s potted seven of 10 this season. You know how when someone is suuuper good at something it looks annoyingly easy? That’s Oshie in the shootout.

He hits like a truck, and he’s a clean player

He’s an absolute refrigerator of a guy, but he doesn’t look like it. He’s just got the density of a neutron star or something. He’s the master of the reverse hit too – you think you’re going to plow him, or that he’s only partially aware of you coming to hit him, and all the sudden your tailbone hurts and you’re staring at the rafters.

Basically only one of those hits wasn’t clean, and it was when he was in college (so, 7-8 years ago) when those hits weren’t yet the perceived equivalent of throwing a baby off a fourth story balcony, as they are now.

I think my favorite hit of his might be this one on Dustin Penner.

That man he just made look like a boy? He’s a lotta man, man.

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Oshie is 5’11″, 189.

He’s versatile

No forward on the St. Louis Blues has more powerplay time than Oshie. No forward on the Blues has more penalty kill time that Oshie. He’s a 50-65 point player who plays physical without taking penalties (he averages about one penalty minute for every two games he plays, meaning he takes a minor roughly every four games. He’s never been suspended either). He wins puck battles and drives play against tough competition. He’d be The Ultimate Canadian Hockey Player, if he weren’t American. We’d love him up here.

He’s not afraid of a good time

Hey, see the last two sentences of the previous section? This might put him over the top.

Oshie developed a bit of a reputation in college as a goer’, if I could use the world’s most Canadian drinking word. He’s a goer’. And sometimes, it gets him in some trouble. (Probably some NSFW language, I don’t know because I can’t watch it all because it makes me cringe).

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The Americans were forced to make some really tough decisions further down their roster, and those included leaving off the like of Bobby Ryan and Kyle Okposo so they could take Oshie. He may not have the pure boxcars of a guy like Ryan, but it’s tough not to take a guy who can play on any line like he can. Okposo can too, so it might have actually been Oshie’s shootout prowess that got him on the squad. After all, we did hear that USA GM said “Oshie’s got that shootout move” when they were determining the roster.

Anyway, Oshie is blowing up after his performance today (I think he has like 80,000 new Twitter followers or something, 136,000 mentions of his name today alone). “Oshie Own Sochi,” and all that. If the world didn’t know his name yesterday, they certainly do today.

Comments (8)

  1. Hey Justin, I went back and looked at a ton of the discussion that was going on during the shootout on various forums, etc. and noticed tons of people constantly whining/questioning/moaning about how he goes in so slow during his attempts. Is there a reason more people don’t? What’s the deal? It seems to work.

    • #74 tried to go in the same speed everytime to keep Bob guessing, is what he told Dan Patrick after the game, after seeing the Game Winner..

      If you look at most of his shootout speeds you can see they’re all about the same, he either swings left or right depending on goalie hand, and or move he’s decided on…

      I know Coach Hitchcock is digesting the Video for the Canadian ‘tenders because he loves doing that, and unfortunately for the Blues now he’s going to need to come up with a few changes to keep the goalies guessing..

    • He’s imitating Patrick Kane there, with the technique that seems to involve slowing down, dekeing until the goalie guesses wrong and goes down (or accidentally opens the five hole) then shooting. Kane debuted it several years ago at the all-star game and has been using it (with increasingly less success, since goalies are ready for him now) since.

      • That’s weird I watched #74 do a shootout move like that in College during practice.. Every Fighting Sioux practice ends with a Shootout, ask Jonathan Toews where he learned/honed his moves in 2007 World’s?? Or did Patrick Kane teach him those too…

        Ask yourself one question, if 2 highly successful players played together night in and night out, as 17 & 18 year olds, and now showcase them 7+ years later, I I highly doubt it’s a coincidence..

  2. There’s no bigger Oshie fan in the world right now than Orpik, unless Orpik is some kind of Russian double-agent

  3. Best blog post so far on this new blog of your Justin.. Because I’m a Original WCHA guy, who’s your age, who watched 20 fo the 25 American’s grow through their Collegiate years. Played shinny with a few, and this post is a good representation of things I’m constantly educating people on when they watch the St Louis Blues, or Team USA at the Worlds.

    Interesting thing about today.. When reporters asked TJ What he felt it like to be a hero, he said, He’s no Hero, hero’s are the ones wearing camo.. Compare that to other sports, and their athletes.. Just shows the respect level Hockey players have..

    Also kudos for bringing up the 2010 video, he wasn’t picked for the 2010 Olympic team, so instead went back to his Collegiate building which has some of the best training equipment in the world hands down, and also to see his family (while getting into one is what American’s call it).. (we had a great time that week, silver medal and all)

    Interesting tidbit, TEAM USA has only won Gold Medal at the Olympics with a Warroad, MN player on their team.. You can take a guess as to where #74 lists his hometown.. (Which is basically Canada, I tell people if you look at the map! That’s why we inherited Toews as an American, he basically grew up in America, going to Shattuck, and then UND, could’ve used him in ’07 for the American’s, but I digress)

  4. At the Winter Classic some guy in front of me laughed when they announced Oshie’s name, and my brother and I were like, ‘what the fuck? Oshie is awesome” and he replied that Oshie sucked, “would you have name him to Team Canada??” “yea, easily”, and I wish I could find that guy now and punch him in the face to let him know what an idiot he is. It’s almost tragic Oshie is American, cause you are totally right Justin, if he was Canadian everyone would have maple boners for him and his style and he wouldn’t be a marginalized talent.

  5. This is such a great feature on a super interesting and likable player that I’m ashamed to say I never paid any attention to until this article. That hit highlight video was exciting as hell, and he’s now one of my favorites but I’m just gonna keep that to myself for a while out of embarrassment. Anyway, Id love to see this become a regular feature, but this one will be tough to beat. I vote for Matt Duchene first. Everyone knows he is awesome but he seems like a real genuine dude and has unique skills.

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