By Ian Oland
TJ Oshie missed 38 games during the 2021-22 regular season due to a lower-body injury, an upper-body injury, COVID, and a non-COVID illness.
Oshie, feeling healthy and optimistic, came into the season looking to register his sixth 20-goal season for the Capitals. Then an errant shot block turned his season into a nightmare.
During Breakdown Day on Sunday, Oshie revealed that he broke his foot in an October 27 game against the Detroit Red Wings. The injury put the right winger in a walking boot and on crutches.
“This year was crazy because I came in feeling really good in the first couple games,” Oshie said. “Then (you) take a shot to the foot and break your foot. That doesn’t feel the same. I still had to change my skate in playoffs. Everything kind of stemmed off of that. Who knows? If I don’t break my foot, maybe I don’t miss any games. You guys know me well enough that once I can put my foot in a skate and I can move, I want to play. I got out in the game in San Jose where the foot was still in pain, but I thought I could play and make an impact. Then the back went out in that game for no reason really and everything snowballed from there.”
Less than a month after breaking his foot, Oshie tried to return in a game against the Sharks on November 20 and pulled up lame while skating. The back injury caused him to miss over two more weeks of time. Oshie suggested the injuries lingered for the rest of the season.
“I think a lot of it is adrenaline,” Oshie said of getting through the postseason. “I’ve been in the league a while. I understand how many shots I’ll have at winning another Cup. This year, I just felt like it was going to be the year just based on how well the team came together down the stretch there.”
Somehow during the playoffs Oshie played some of his most effective hockey of the year, leading the Capitals in goals (6) and points (7). Most of that production came on the power play where Oshie scored four times. Oshie’s biggest goal was the game-tying tally that he deflected past Sergei Bobrovsky in Game Six.
Oshie also delivered a huge hit to Sam Bennett in Game Four that led to an Evgeny Kuznetsov goal and temporarily gave the Capitals the lead late in the third period.
“I scored goals but a lot of those goals were created by other guys as well,” Oshie said. “Guys gave me the puck in front of the net. Great plays by other players. It’s always nice to be on the scoresheet, but a lot of those goals happened because of good plays by other guys.”
The 35-year-old Oshie says he will now take some time off over the offseason to heal before working towards next year.
“Hope to get healthy over the next month here and start training,” Oshie said. “There’s no reason why next year I can’t play a full season. I think I’ll be better than I was this season. I don’t feel like I’m slowing down at all. Anything over the last couple years, my goal totals haven’t been the same but on the ice I felt pretty good.”
He hopes the Capitals’ roster doesn’t change much over the summer.
“We know what we have to do to have a chance to win,” Oshie said. “We want this core to stick together forever. I hope we do for a couple more years.”
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