Hockey fans were up bright and early on Saturday morning to witness the highly-anticipated Team USA versus Team Russia matchup in the 2014 Winter Olympics men’s hockey preliminary rounds. Although it didn’t carry the same weight of the gold-medal match from the Lake Placid 1980 Olympics, pharmacy the historic “Miracle on Ice” (also the basis for the movie Miracle), it sure was an instant classic.
It was an intense, back-to-back scoring rout between the two rivals, with the Americans coming out on top, pulling off the upset with a 3-2 shootout win. But there was one standout player on Team USA who became a household name and the darling of Twitter, picking up 130,000 new Twitter followers within hours of his performance: 27-year-old St. Louis Blues right wing T.J. Oshie, our HAM of the Week.
It was Oshie who sealed the win for the Team USA, scoring four shootout goals in a dramatic 3-2 victory. Thanks to international hockey rules, a player is allowed to take multiple shootout shots, and Team USA took full advantage of Oshie’s incredible shootout skills.
Is it ironic that Oshie sort of rhymes with Sochi? Absolutely not.
Is Oshie considered a god? 100% yes.
In the press conferences following the game, many had dubbed him an American hero. He responded with a true meaning of heroism, according to Yahoo Sports: “American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.”
Be still our beating hearts. Olympic hockey is definitely toying with our emotions.
It’s hard to believe the 5’11”, 189 lbs Oshie was one of the last players picked for this year’s team, and he rightly deserves to be here. He’s a shootout powerhouse—he’s 7-for-10 in shootout attempts, has had two game-deciding goals in the lockout season, and 25 total shootout goals in five and a half NHL seasons.
The Everett, Washington, and Warroad, Minnesota, native (the latter is the self-described “Hockeytown” of America) began his hockey career in high school, where he led the club team to two Minnesota state titles in three seasons. He was named a Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist and played in the US Hockey League before being drafted by the Blues in the 2005 NHL Draft.
Oshie continued his career at the University of North Dakota, playing three of four years. Fun fact: according to his NBC Olympics athlete profile, one of Oshie’s teammates was none other than Captain Serious himself, Jonathan Toews. And the St. Louis Blues are one team the Blackhawks still can’t solve.
Oshie skipped his senior season at North Dakota to sign with the Blues in 2008. Since he’s been with the team, Oshie has scored 84 goals, with 14 from the current season. Oshie also played on the US national team in the World Junior Championships and the IIHF World Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2013, the latter in which he helped secure the team a bronze medal.
His boyish charm has definitely got us hooked, but sorry ladies, Oshie’s taken. His longtime girlfriend, Lauren Cosgrove, is seven months pregnant with their daughter, due in April.
Well, we can still swoon and dream. His laid-back approach to life, mixed with a healthy dose of humor, is flat-out perfection.
How long after you brush your teeth are you allowed to drink OJ? 30 mins and counting…
— TJ Oshie (@OSH74) January 15, 2014
Another fun fact: Oshie is name-checked in a 2010 Bouncing Souls song “Badass” along with real-life rebel without a cause, Steve McQueen.
And this 2010 impromptu interview from FSSN features a blond-haired, gum-chewing Oshie, which absolutely solidifies the above statement.
To say that USA hockey is on fire right now is an understatement. They’re playing like a strong unit, and have amazing chemistry on the ice, which was noted in yesterday’s 5-1 rout versus Slovenia. The squad captured their group victory, securing a bye in the quarterfinals, which begin Wednesday.
And the best part? There’s still plenty more hockey to be played once the Olympics are over.
Follow TJ Oshie on Twitter at @OSH74.