T.J. Oshie was on the ice Monday morning as the Blues prepared to open their first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday at Scottrade Center. Oshie said he is 100% after surgery two weeks ago to repair a stress fracture in his injured left ankle. Head coach Ken Hitchcock was non-committal about Oshie’s return to the lineup, but Oshie said he is ready to go.
So what is it like to be sidelined with an injury that takes a few weeks to reveal itself? Following surgery, it was all about the waiting game, and Oshie says that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I think if I was able to go, or semi-able to go, and for whatever reason I just wasn’t playing…I think that would be a lot more frustrating,” said Oshie.
“I think the fact that I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t skate on [the injury], I couldn’t do whatever, I think it was less frustrating, knowing I was doing everything I could to get out there.”
That included plenty of observation from the press box. Is there anything he learned from his time high above the ice, watching his teammates fight for home ice in the first round of the playoffs?
“I think you just learn where there is more space. When you have space, when you have time, when you don’t. Obviously, against LA and in the playoffs, it’s all going to be about less. There’s going to be less time and less space. But you can kind of find those quiet areas when you’re sitting up top that you can’t see even sitting in the stands.”
“When you’re way up there, you can see everything on the ice. You see things develop more, and I think that benefited me, and hopefully I can instill some things in my game that I saw up there.”
After watching as a spectator for the past few weeks, what kind of environment does Oshie expect to see from the Blues faithful on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center?
“Out of control. Everything. Out of control. The game is hopefully going to be in-control, systems wise, but emotions are going to be going.”
“It’s going to be a physical series. I imagine the fans are going to be pretty excited that they get to see LA come back into our house, and hopefully we can change the outcome.”
So the long road back continues. Hitchcock said the team will evaluate how Oshie feels in the morning, and will evaluate the rest of his team before deciding on lineups. But after weeks of being on the sideline and staying positive, what does Oshie expect the bottom line of the series to be?
“It’s whoever doesn’t get frustrated is who’s probably is going to win the series.”
If the mentality of the team is anything like Oshie’s, that’s a very good sign.
Chris Hrabe hosts “The Sports Hub” weeknights from 9p-12a on KMOX.