Blues forward T.J. Oshie said he didn’t realize how big of an impact his four shootout goals had on fans back here in the States until talking with his family, well after the U.S. beat Russia 3-2 on Saturday.
Oshie told Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio this morning that once he talked to his family in Warroad, MN, he understood how big the moment was. He said his grandmother was even crying. After the game on Saturday, he was doing typical post game interviews and had someone tell him that President Barak Obama tweeted congratulations to him.
Oshie admitted that he had a bit of a hard time focusing prior to Sunday’s game against Slovenia, but once he got the first shift out of the way, he was narrowed in on the task at hand, which was finishing off pool play at 3-0. Team USA coach Dan Bylsma was complimentary of Oshie’s hustle and strong forechecking in Sunday’s win.
Oshie is not looking ahead to any possible rematch against Russia, which could only happen in the gold medal game. Instead, Oshie is concentrating on Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup, where at this point now, it’s win or go home.
Oshie brought up a good point that many fans don’t take into consideration. While the entire USA roster is made up of NHL stars, this is a relatively new team that is still trying to play with each other. Since arriving in Sochi after taking a break from NHL play, the team has only had a handful of practices in working together.
Team USA will face the winner of the Czech Republic-Slovakia game. The U.S. beat Slovakia 7-1 in the first game of the tournament last Thursday. In that game, Blues goalie, Jaroslav Halak was victimized for five goals on 25 shots, before he was replaced.