TJ Oshie spoke to reporters Wednesday on a Zoom call after the Capitals’ third day of Phase 3 Training Camp. The right wing, who has Wario tattooed on his upper thigh, did not hesitate when asked how the Capitals will spend time together in the bubble when the team leaves for Toronto on July 26.
“We’re a Mario Kart team,” Oshie said according to Chris Gordon.
TJ Oshie on how the Capitals will pass the time locked down in Toronto: “We're a Mario Kart team.”
— Chris Gordon (@ByChrisGordon) July 15, 2020
Capitals players, who could be away from their families for up to five weeks (until the Eastern Conference Final), will be staying in Hotel X in Toronto along with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Philadelphia Flyers. While many luxury accommodations will be provided such as restaurants and a community swimming pool, a majority of Capitals players will likely turn to a decrepit Nintendo 64 gaming system for their entertainment.
A few seasons ago, former Capital Nate Schmidt bought a used N64 from a gaming-store in Toronto and the team played Mario Kart together. It instantly became A Thing.
“You can imagine how the whole thing escalated,” Braden Holtby wrote in a Players’ Tribune article. “We’re hockey players. So any excuse to be competitive, right? You had guys who were dedicated to being the greatest Mario Kart racers in the world, and you had guys who were dedicated to being the best Mario Kart color commentators in the world. ‘He’s got the banana peel! Luigi’s got the banana peel! This is trouble for Oshie! MAMA-MIAAAAAAAA!’ It was pure comedy.”
The game, which Holtby cited as a stress-reliever during the postseason, became such a big part of the Capitals’ Stanley Cup championship team in 2018 that Oshie got his favorite racer tattooed, Wario, while Brett Connolly got Bowser inked onto his arm after the season.
During the second round of that year’s postseason, Jay Beagle even challenged the Penguins’ Phil Kessel to take their beef to Moo Moo Meadows after the hot-dog lover called the Capitals’ former fourth-line center an “idiot.”
Since the start of camp, Oshie has skated with Group Red, a collection of skaters who hadn’t gotten on the ice much during the coronavirus pandemic. He’s skated on the same line with Jakub Vrana and Travis Boyd and looks destined to start the postseason on the second line centered by Nicklas Backstrom.
Despite all the changes at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, Oshie remains the same happy-go-lucky guy.
TJ Oshie just hopped on a Zoom call with media at the rink. Gave a quick wave to us up on the balcony before hopping on the call with an energetic, and very Oshie-like message: "It's go time!"
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) July 15, 2020
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