Capitals Hope Oshie Can Return, Emotional Discussing 77’s Impact

The Capitals hope to have T.J. Oshie back for 2024-25.
Player Development Of First Round Picks: TJ Oshie - LWOH

At Washington Capitals breakdown day, Tom Wilson grew visibly emotional discussing teammate and close friend T.J. Oshie, who he may have very well skated in his last NHL game with.

It’s a day that Wilson and the Capitals hope hasn’t come yet, but looking at the reality of the situation, know is a possibility for Oshie, whose future hangs in the balance amid chronic back issues.

“I’m close enough with him to know that it’s not going to be a predictable future for him. It hasn’t been. He’s been battling and clawing and fighting for every inch, basically fighting for every game at times to get in and just leave it all out there,” Wilson said. “That last game, it was pretty emotional when you think there’s a slight possibility that you may not be able to battle with your brother and really close friend and teammate. It’s pretty emotional.”

Oshie had undergone a double ablation at the end of last season to try and relieve the unrelenting pain from his back, but it was a short-term fix for a problem that continued to plague him over the course of the 2023-24 campaign.

“It’s different than just being sore. A broken hand is like a hangnail compared to what I go through with my back,” Oshie said, adding, “If I’m in a state where I can’t play, I’m usually literally on the floor peeing in water bottles. It sucks when that happens and I can’t pick up kids or do any of that until I go see Dr. (Kerry) Johnson out in Minnesota and he gets me all aligned. Then, I seem to feel a lot better.”

Despite his ailments, as well as a concussion in November and a broken hand in the playoffs, Oshie persevered to make it through the entirety of his 16th NHL season, where he also hit two major milestones: 1,000 career games and 300 career goals.

It earned him admiration from his teammates, who watched day after day as Oshie went through obstacle after obstacle to simply just lace up his skates and get on the ice.

SEE IT: Capitals' TJ Oshie Levels No. 3 Pick Adam Fantilli | Washington Hockey Now

“He’s a warrior, no other way to describe it. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had over these two years,” Dylan Strome said. “Just the things he needs to do to get his body ready for a hockey game, you guys would be stunned if you saw it. If it is his last game, he’s a hell of a warrior, hell of a guy. Everything you can ask for in a teammate. Guy puts his heart and soul on the line each shift.”

“It’s a testament to his character and durability and how much he’s done for this team. It’s pretty selfless to leave your body on the line every minute of every game just to win games,” Wilson noted. It’s pretty selfless, an amazing thing you don’t find very often.”

Oshie finished the year with 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points in 52 regular season games and had an assist through four playoff games. But beyond that, he continued to play a key role off the ice, being the “glue” that kept the locker room together and mentoring the youth who came in to help fill several voids.

“The biggest thing I took from Osh was just his character and how much he wants to win and how much he cares about every single guy in that locker room. It meant a lot to me as a young guy, and it meant a lot to our group,” Connor McMichael said. “I can’t thank Osh enough for everything he did for me.”

Looking ahead, Oshie said that he loves the game and wants to continue playing, but in reality, he’s not sure if he can.

Capitals forward T.J. Oshie undergoes minor back surgery | Yardbarker

“It would be hard for me to ever for sure say that I’m stepping away from the game. I’d love to play next year, but I will need to come back with somewhat of a guarantee that my back won’t be (giving out). it’s hard putting everyone through the situation,” Oshie said. “From my family at home to the team trying to figure out a lineup to young guys getting called up and going down. I’d like to find just an answer and a fix to the problem before I make another run at it.”

Still, his teammates have hope that he will be back for his 17th year and continue to be the “glue” in the locker room that holds the team together.

“Obviously, you don’t really know. I hope he can get to a place where he feels like he’s good enough to go. Every day with him is an absolute pleasure and privilege. I’ve learned so much from him. That’s one of those guys that towards the end of the year, I’m like, ‘I’m going to leave it all out there because I don’t want to stop playing with you.’ You don’t want your last game day with Osh to ever happen,” Wilson added. “It’s one of those things where if he’s good to go, I’m going to be the happiest guy on the planet. He’s a guy we love having around.”

“He’s a warrior. He’s a guy who brings energy on the ice and off the ice. He have so much respect from the coaching staff to the fans and from the players as well. He’s a guy who brings everything to this group on the ice and off the ice,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “I hope he’s going to be okay. I know through all those years how difficult it was sometimes for him to play.

Washington will give Oshie all the time he needs to make a decision on the next steps and support that choice.

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