ARLINGTON, V.A. — In the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was running on adrenaline.
It was that classic “Osh” energy that helped him lead the way with six goals in the postseason, and ultimately, kept him in the lineup despite several injuries and ailments that had plagued him over the course of the regular season. Still, Oshie fought through it, hanging on to help the team in any way possible and keep his and his team’s championship hopes alive.
“A lot of it’s adrenaline. I understand how many shots I’ll have at winning another Cup… I felt like this was going to be the year just based on how well the team came together down the stretch there,” Oshie said of his playoff performance, adding with a smile, “If anyone’s 100 percent healthy after six games in a playoff series, you probably weren’t playing hard enough.”
Now, with the summer ahead of him, the 35-year-old right-wing faces some decisions with regard to recovery and healing different ailments he suffered over the course of one of the toughest seasons of his career.
“I got some work to do on the body before any training can start,” Oshie admitted. “I hope [I don’t need surgery] — I feel like this year was pretty tough for me… hopefully just a couple weeks, month, and I’ll be back to 100 percent.”
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Right from the get-go, Oshie’s season wasn’t an easy one. Less than one month into the Capitals campaign, Oshie blocked a point shot in a home game against the Detroit Red Wings, which ended up breaking his foot. The fracture held him out on a “week-to-week” basis, but Oshie said once he could fit his foot in a skate and move around, he jumped back into the mix and was ready to make an impact. He returned for a game out west against the San Jose Sharks, where his back went out and injuries started to pop up one after another.
“Everything kind of snowballed from there,” Oshie noted.
Oshie was limited to just 44 games in 2021-22, dishing 11 goals and 14 assists for Washington and still making an impact where he could. He then kicked his play into a higher gear for the playoffs with seven points in six games against Florida. Still, he said he had to adapt to the different ailments that rose up, and that it changed the way he approached the game and performed this season.
“This year was crazy… I came in feeling really good in the first couple of games and then 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, and then everything kind of stemmed off of that. Who knows? I don’t break my foot, maybe I don’t miss any games.”
Heading into 2022-23, Oshie doesn’t see any reason why he can’t play a full season as he enters his 15th year in the NHL and eighth with the Capitals.
“I feel like I’m going to play 82 next year,” Oshie said. “I know, I’ll probably get banged up a little bit at some point, just my style of my game… hope to get healthy over the next month here, start training and there’s no reason why next year, I can’t play a full season.”
In the end, No. 77 is looking forward to running it back again with the same veteran core, and also believes he can carry that momentum from the playoffs into the regular season and keep producing.
“I don’t feel like I’m slowing down at all,” Oshie said. “Anything over the last couple of years, maybe my goal totals haven’t been the same. But on the ice, I felt pretty good.”