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Oshie shares special bond with his father


Oshie shares special bond with his father

Like most of the Capitals who are rooming with their fathers during the team’s annual Dads’ trip, T.J. Oshie shares an unbreakable bond with his father, Tim.

The two have shared a journey of personal growth that has drawn them closer with each passing year.

“He’s meant the world to me,” Oshie said. “My family is very, very, very close. From my immediate family to cousins, everyone is in the same boat. We spend a lot of time together.

“It was a long trip for him to come from Seattle, so for him to come on this trip means the world to him and it definitely means the world to me, too.”

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About three years ago, at the age of 48, Tim Oshie was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, a gradual but progressive form of dementia that normally begins with short-term memory loss. According to Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 5 percent of the 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s are diagnosed under the age of 65.

“He’s doing good,” Oshie said. “He’s in great spirits. A couple of the guys have already come up to me and said how much of a hoot he is.”

The first of Tim and Tina Oshie’s three children together, T.J.  grew up in Everett, Wash., where he spent much of the first 15 years of his life being coached by his father in football, baseball, basketball, hockey and golf.

“I just call him coach,” Oshie said. “I don’t call him dad.”

In 2002, two years after his parents separated, Oshie, who was 15 at the time, moved with his father to Tim Oshie’s hometown of Warroad, Minn., living with their cousin, Henry Boucha, a former NHL forward who played 247 games for the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.

It was in Warroad that T.J. Oshie learned more about his family’s Native American heritage as members of Ojibwe Nation.

“We take a lot of pride in that and my dad will be the first to tell you that,” Oshie said. “We respect the native way. We respect the land. It’s just amazing how much pride my family takes from our heritage and from where we come from.”

Because he grew up in Washington, Oshie said he did not experience his first pow wow until he was 15.

“What was cool about my first one was that it started to rain and it rained hard,” Oshie recalled. “I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but for two hours straight they did a rain dance and a song, which I thought was pretty amazing. And eventually, it stopped raining and the food came out. It was a pretty cool first experience.”

After their meal, Oshie said the tribal leaders, including a medicine man, gathered in his “Uncle Henry’s” living room for a naming ceremony for his himself, his father, his younger brother, Taylor, and his younger sister, Tawni.

“We sat on the floor and smoked some tobacco out of a peace pipe,” Oshie said with a smile. “I was coughing. We sang a song for each of us, sat silent for a while, and then we were named.”

T.J. was given the name “Keeway Gaaboo,” which translates to “Coming Home.”

His father, Tim, was given a name that translates to “Falling From The Sky” and his brother, Taylor, was named “Falling From The Sky Like An Eagle.” Tawni, who has a learning disability, was given a name so spiritual that it does not translate to English.

“She’s kind of the life of the family,” Oshie said with a laugh.

Now a father himself, Oshie said he would like his 21-month-old daughter, Lyla Grace, to experience her own first pow wow.

“I do regret not learning more than I know, but I still am very proud of where I come from,” Oshie said. “At some point she will (be named). That’s something that will be very important to me and very important to my dad, especially.

“I want her to be old enough, but with my dad’s condition we might do it sooner rather than later.”

For now, Oshie said he is cherishing every moment he spends with his father, now 51, and is excited for him to get to know his new teammates’ fathers.

“You see some of the dads who were here together last year and it seems they already have a good relationship,” Oshie said. “You see them joking around. It’s good for my dad to come to meet the guys and for them to meet him. I’m so happy we get to do this. It’s great to have him here.”

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.


A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.


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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.