Washington Capitals winger and fan favorite TJ Oshie was traded to the Caps by the St. Louis Blues in July of 2015. Since then, he has been a part of many legendary moments in franchise history, including the team’s first-ever Stanley Cup victory.
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have played alongside Osh during that time. Oshie recently detailed what it was like to suit up alongside those legends and what he has learned from each of them.
Oshie made the comments while speaking to Danny Healey of the Pass The Torch podcast. The interview was conducted over the summer.
While Oshie and Ovechkin may scream in each other’s faces before every single game they play together, it comes from a place of deep respect and joy for the game. The latter is something that Oshie says he has learned a lot about from The Great Eight.
“What stuck out to me about Ovi right away is how much he enjoyed the team scoring goals,” Oshie said. “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.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 20, 2018
“When I was younger, there would be times where maybe we’d win a game, it’d be a blowout, like 7-2,” Oshie continued. “And if I didn’t have a goal, I’d be like, ‘Man, what the heck’ instead of being so happy for the guy that scored two and the defenseman that got his first goal in 50 games. I learned that from Ovi.”
Ovechkin has always been more of an outgoing rockstar in DC during his career, while his running mate for over 15 years on the Caps in Backstrom has typically played the straight man. While Oshie looks up to Ovi’s sheer joy for hockey during games, he also admires Backstrom’s unceasing stoicism.
“Backstrom’s mind is made out of steel,” Oshie said. “He just doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low. I still really look up to that in him because even just in a period there’s so many ups and downs in between your shifts. He’s just always even-keeled.
i tell u what i love and missed: nicklas backstrom staring straight into my soul and reading all the sins laid therein and judging me for their paltriness pic.twitter.com/EfACYnm48R
— unaccompanied turmeric (@foreverkneeld) January 15, 2021
“I love playing with him,” Oshie continued. “But, sometimes on the bench when I look over and he just has the same look, probably just focusing on the game or thinking about the last shift, I’m like, ‘Gosh, did I make him mad?’ But, no he’s just laser-focused, ready to rock no matter whether we scored or we just got scored on. He’s the same way. That is something I’m still trying to emulate a little bit.”
Learning from his teammates is something Oshie says his dad instilled in him from a young age. Later in the interview when asked to give him one piece of advice to the future generation, the 35-year-old forward pulled from those words from ‘Coach’.
“Probably to take care of your teammates,” Oshie said. “I think it’s so important. It’s not just like being their buddy. It’s sticking up for them if something goes wrong. It’s setting an example by working hard and having them work as hard as you. And, with that comes learning about them, knowing their family, and just caring for them.”
Well said, TJ.
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