ARLINGTON, VA — Three days into training camp, TJ Oshie says he feels miles away from the injuries that plagued his 2022-23 campaign.
After missing more than a quarter of last season with a lingering back injury, Oshie underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to address it last April. The procedure didn’t require significant recovery, giving him a full offseason to train for the first time in half a decade. Fast forward to training camp, and Oshie told reporters that time had paid off.
“I feel great. I feel strong. I feel good. I feel healthy,” he said, “There’s no second guessing by me out there.”
A series of injuries have largely defined Oshie’s recent seasons, costing him more than 60 games over the last two seasons. After two COVID-shortened offseasons in 2020 and 2021, Oshie would undergo core surgery two summers ago, limiting his training once again.
Oshie faced further setbacks as 2022-23 went on. He developed lingering back problems after playing through a broken foot the prior campaign, leading to three extended absences from the team. Even when he was able to stay in the lineup, the fear of re-injuring his back kept Oshie from playing with his usual fervor.
“Most of last year, it seemed like a lot of my mentality was skating in a certain way or hitting guys in a certain way that would prevent — that would keep my back in a good spot,” he said. “I felt like I needed to do that, and now I’m just playing.
“I’m out there; I’m just thinking about making plays and having fun and working and learning the new system. So it’s great. I feel like my old self.”
This summer’s training regimen balanced both maintaining Oshie’s lower-back stability and improving his game. Oshie jumped into the challenge with vigor.
“We do stuff (to strengthen my lower back) every day,” Oshie said. “It’s something that’s just kind of part of my everyday life now, is strengthening all those areas and I mean in general, just strengthening my whole body that I haven’t been able to do for a while.
“It’s been a couple summers of rehab and just getting back to even. Not a lot of gains. So this summer was a lot better. I started training right away, took a little break in the middle and then hit it hard the last month and a half, two. So yeah, I feel really good.”
Oshie won’t be in the lineup for the Capitals’ first exhibition game against the Sabres on Sunday, but he hopes to get into the lineup later into training camp. With some preseason ice time under his belt, Oshie expects he’ll be rearing to go.
“It’s always nice to get one or two (preseason game) in at least. The first one you feel terrible and it feels like everyone’s going a million miles an hour. When you get closer to the end of camp and the lineups start looking a little bit more like a full NHL lineup maybe a couple AHL or bubble guys, those are the games I think for someone like myself is a lot more important because it feels a little bit more structured out there.
“When there’s a lot of the young guys, it’s hard to read what exactly a system is on the other side. But hopefully we get in a couple and it’s always nice to get those game legs and lungs under you.”
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.