10 fun facts about T.J. Oshie
T.J. Oshie became part of U.S. Olympic lore Saturday when he took advantage of international rules and scored on 4-of-6 shootout attempts, including the game winner, in a 3-2 victory over Russia.
Oshie, 27, received a congratulatory tweet from President Obama, whose initials appear at the end of the message.
Congrats to T.J. Oshie and the U.S. men's hockey team on a huge win! Never stop believing in miracles. #GoTeamUSA -bo- The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 15, 2014
Oshie never has scored more than 19 goals in a season. But he has a history when it comes to big goals. The school record-holder with an NCAA-best nine game-winning goals at North Dakota, Oshie is tied with Jonathan Toews and Logan Couture for the NHL lead in shootout goals with seven (Oshie's success rate is a staggering 70 percent) and has 25 shootout goals in his career.
Asked to compare the moment to any other he has experienced in hockey, Oshie's St. Louis Blues' teammate and Olympic roommate David Backes said, "It pains me to say it -- maybe the gold-medal game in Vancouver. That one went the wrong way at the end so it's a bitter taste, but great hockey all of the way around. Again, this is what the Olympics is all about. It's guys laying it all out there, having great performances, owning your moment. I think Oshie had a pretty nice moment today."
Backes then disagreed with the notion that Oshie possesses a slow heartbeat.
"No, he's got a fast heartbeat," he said. "Somebody asked me 'What kind of dog he would be if he was a dog?' I said he's a Jack Russell terrier. He needs his attention directed or else he gets into a little mischief and he needs it guided.
"Today it was all functioned and funneled in the right way. He does some amazing things when it is."
When it was pointed out that if Oshie were a dog, he might have had an unfortunate accident in that situation, Backes clarified, "He's a well potty-trained Jack Russell terrier."
Here are 10 other facts you need to know about Oshie:
1. Oshie was not a lock, or even probable, to make the U.S. team. ESPN's Scott Burnside, one of only two writers with behind-the-scenes access to the building of the U.S. team, said the final winger spot was between Oshie, the Blackhawks' Brandon Saad and the Ducks' Bobby Ryan. USA general manager David Poile, reported Burnside, "knows Oshie and likes his personality. ... Oshie's got that shootout move."
2. Oshie may have looked confident after scoring the game winner, but told NBC, "I kept looking back, seeing if anyone was going to go. I told some of the boys on the last couple, 'I'm running out of moves here.' " His talented teammates were duly impressed. "I'm going to be in bed tonight thinking about it and I'll be thinking about it for the rest of my career," Cam Fowler said. "He was in the zone. For him to step up like that when the game was on the line was something very special and something you might not see for a long time."
3. As a rookie, T.J. -- short for Timothy Jr.-- received write-in votes for mayor of O'Fallon, Mo. A fan photographed his ballot, a violation of the law that carried a potential one-year jail sentence and a $2,500 fine. "What can I say," Oshie told the Vancouver Sun. "Devoted fans."
4. Oshie might be under the radar compared to other NHL stars, but he was honored by fan voting with the NHL's "goal of the year" against the Canucks during the 2008-09 season. Here's how he described it later to the Vancouver Sun: "It was kind of regroup in our barn at the left wing in the second period. I cut to the middle on a D-man, I don't know who it was, and it was me and Roberto Luongo the whole way. He faded off to the side and I cut across to my right and ended up putting it in the net." And what did he get for it, he was asked? "A goal," Oshie said.
5. The town Oshie was born in, Mount Vernon, Wash., did not have an ice rink while he was growing up. He considers Everett, Wash., where he was raised, his hometown. Everett didn't have a hockey rink, either
6. Oshie is still huge in Washington. When Oshie was -- to his surprise -- drafted in the first round and 24th overall by the Blues in the 2005 NHL entry draft, he became Washington state's highest NHL draft pick since David Wilkie of Edmonds was chosen 20th in 1992 by the Montreal Canadiens.
7. How tough are hockey players? Oshie played 17 minutes in a 3-1 victory over the Wild in 2009 with an appendix in need of removal. He had surgery hours later, making him the second Blues player in two seasons to have an appendectomy, joining goalie Chris Mason. "The thing about our organization is we're kind of used to it," team president John Davidson said at the time. "It's not a shock to us anymore. When things happen, you try to deal with it and you go forward." Said Oshie, who returned to action six days later: "I just thought it was a stomachache."
8. Oshie may be big, but he is only the latest small-towner from the far north in Minnesota to make the Olympic team. Warroad, Minn., which also claims Oshie, as he played his high school hockey there from his sophomore year on, is a town of fewer than 2,000 people about six miles from the Canadian border. It is semi-jokingly referred to as "Hockeytown," as no U.S. men's team has ever won an Olympic gold medal without a Warroad player on the roster.
9. Even millionaires can't resist a small-time dare. Three years ago, Oshie got a perm. "My buddies dared me, so I did it," Oshie told the Vancouver Sun. "Won a couple hundred bucks."
10. Oshie is mentioned in the Bouncing Souls' song "Badass" from their 2010 album "Ghosts on the Boardwalk":
Hey guys, do you know what else is pretty badass?
No, besides my mom.