TJ Oshie has been hot as of late, which is not something he has been able to say much this season. He has suffered goal-less droughts of 14 and 19 games, respectively, and had a stretch of 34 games during which he did not score a single five-on-five goal. Fortunately, the winger has finally turned the corner, scoring five goals and tallying eight points in his past eight games.
What might have caused this turnaround? To Oshie, the answer is a longer, stiffer stick.
According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, Oshie switched sticks right as his 19-game streak without a goal lifted. The old stick TJ used had a flex of 82 — his new one a slightly more rigid 87. The higher the flex, the stiffer the stick and the harder it is to bend. (Thank the EA Sports NHL video games for my knowledge of this.) His new twig is also a centimeter longer.
“I think for an NHL hockey player, [82 to 87] is a monster difference,” Oshie said to Rosen. “It’s just the way you feel the puck, the way it comes off your blade. Everything changes. Length changes. It changes your lie. It changes how low you are to the ice. There’s a lot that goes into it. That’s why everyone’s sticks are so unique and so different from the other guys.”
For reference, Alex Ovechkin’s stick flex is 80. Oshie used an Ovechkin stick during the 2016 playoffs.
For Oshie, the stick change has allowed him to forget about all the other stuff and just play.
“If anything, I just feel a little more free to go in, find a spot, pick it and let her rip,” he said to Rosen. “Before, I was really focusing on the pre-scout of the goalie, where you should shoot, where most of the goals go in. Now, I’m just kind of getting back to playing a little more free, a little more natural, and the puck is finding the net.”
Oshie’s turnaround is coming at the best possible time for the Caps, just games before the playoffs. If he can keep producing like he has, the Caps might have a stick to thank.
Headline Photo: Patrick McDermott
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