Throwing his body around and finishing his checks while being
the only guy on the team under 6’ , T.J.
Oshie gives notice to his opponents that he will make them pay for any
transgression with an offensive or defensive play. Oshie oozes effort on every
single shift he plays. That means he is worth more to the Caps than just his
offensive output. Oshie brings the leadership and hustle intangibles that the
Caps were lacking in the pre-Barry Trotz
Through four games, Oshie is 2-2-4 and minus-2, but the
points came evenly distributed in the last two games and his plus-minus improved
to plus-1 and 0. He is finding chemistry with his new line mates, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, for now. Oshie showed chemistry with Nicklas Backstrom (welcome back 3-point
night Nicky!) on the power play against the Carolina Hurricanes. His shot from Backstrom on that play showcased a beautiful one-timer.
Oshie seems to make things happen on the ice. Creative
offense versus dump and chase offense is being played by the Caps and he is a
part of that. The top 6 forward situation, with the addition of Justin Williams
and a healthy Backstrom looks improved. Their passing is fun to watch again.
But, the West Coast road trip will be a big test. The Caps
struggle, more seasons than not in the Ovie era, with a 3-4 record the last two
seasons, when they play Western conference teams on the road. Of course, the Caps were home for that debacle of a game they played against the San Jose Sharks. Maybe the addition of two Western conference
players, Oshie and Justin Williams, will help the Caps on the road out West.
Oshie is excited about the Caps and “what we can do if we
play the right way” as quoted in this
Washington Post article. Those words make Caps fans happy. This is another example of those key intangibles. There can never be enough of that on a team that would like to be competitive in the playoffs, if they get there.
Puck drops in Calgary tomorrow night. Let’s go Caps!
Labels: Alex Ovechkin, NHL, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals