TROTZ THINKS OSHIE IS CLOSE TO BREAK THROUGH
BY BRIAN MCNALLY | MARCH 2, 2018
KETTLER CAPITALS ICEPLEX — T.J. Oshie saw the open net, ripped a shot on goal and heard the haunting clang of the crossbar.
It’s been that kind of season. Early in last Saturday’s 5-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres, Oshie saw yet another scoring chance wasted. Oshie is stuck on 12 goals through 58 games after scoring a career-high 33 goals last season. He is in the first of an eight-year, $46 million contract signed this past summer.
Oshie got off to a good start with 10 goals and 13 assists in 28 games, but missed six games from Dec. 6 to Dec. 17 with a concussion sustained in a game against the San Jose Sharks. He has two goals since returning and none since Jan. 31. Oshie has only 10 assists during that stretch, too, but finally has shown signs of life lately.
The crossbar against Buffalo notwithstanding, Oshie had an assist on Alex Ovechkin’s goal Monday in Columbus and another the next night at home against Ottawa with a pretty cross-ice feed to Evgeny Kuznetsov. It’s a start.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Thursday he’s had several conversations to reassure Oshie lately.
“Two things when he’s really going really good – his blades are active and he’s got that persistent hound dog mentality that he brings naturally, but it’s more prevalent when he’s moving his feet and having fun and enjoying those battles,” Trotz said.
Oshie had a couple of quality scoring chances himself playing with Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana on the second line Tuesday against the Senators. He’s close. But the wait to contribute is difficult.
“It’s coming,” Trotz said. “There’s probably a little bit of frustration because you had that good look and yet close but no cigar. But I just tell him as long as you’re getting chances, getting to the right spots and doing the right things you’re going to break through.”
Photo of T.J. Oshie, left, at practice by Brian McNally for The Sports Capitol