COMMENTARY | St. Louis Blues’ T.J. Oshie may not have been able to bring home a medal from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but he is bringing home great memories. Oshie became an instant sensation by beating Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets in a shootout. Oshie did so in his usual electrifying shootout style of glitz and glam. Many have dubbed him a hero, but like Oshie stated in an interview the real heroes wear camo. I know several veterans and one in particular, Jake Reiter, was so moved that he wanted Oshie thanked for his comment. This shows humbleness in Oshie’s character.
It has been no secret that I was not a huge fan of Oshie being picked for Team USA. I even stated so in my article on Yahoo Sports, St. Louis Blues’ T.J. Oshie Named to Team USA. I also slammed his selection to Team USA in my article, St. Louis Blues Players Participating in Sochi Winter Olympics: What Impact Will They Make? That is the funny thing about making predictions, sometimes they are spot on and other times they are way off. In this case, my prediction of Oshie getting lost in the shuffle on Team USA was indeed off. He played well and was able to shine in the game against Russia. Although, he faded into the background during the game against Canada and seemed to lose heart prior to even stepping onto the ice against Finland. All the stardom that he experienced after the win against Russia seemed to take his mind off of the ultimate goal.
Even with all the sensational performances by Oshie during the game against Russia Team USA was unable to bring home a medal. Their performance against Canada was lack-luster. They were severely disappointed to not play in the gold medal game. They still had an opportunity to earn a bronze medal but once again, they came onto the ice and gave a less than stellar performance. It was embarrassing to watch and even a little painful. Team USA probably should have just forfeited their spot in the bronze medal game and let a team who actually wanted to compete do so. All of this has to have had a negative impact on Oshie’s mental ability to be ready to continue playing an effective season.
Watching the players of Team USA following both defeats I felt a little sorry for them. They came in expecting to win gold. Once that was off the table, they gave up trying and should have just headed home. Do I still feel that Oshie was a good choice to be on Team USA hockey? I think that this experience has given him a maturity that he lacked going into the Games. I think that the crushing losses that the team faced will have some effect on his playing style for the remainder of the season. But, I also think that he belonged on that team, especially since it could be the last time that NHL players are allowed to play at the Winter Olympics.
There are now large expectations resting on the shoulders of T.J. Oshie since becoming a trending sensation. The Blues are in a run for the play-offs and Lord Stanley’s Cup. On a personal note, Oshie is about to become a first time father and he will be expected to contribute both physically and mentally to the team during a time when he will be adjusting to the rigors of fatherhood. All this comes on the heels of a disappointing Olympic experience will be able to look forward to greeting his new child and chase the ever elusive Stanley Cup before the Blues’ season expires.