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On his day with the Stanley Cup, T.J. Oshie spent an unforgettable few hours in Hockeytown USA

On his day with the Stanley Cup, T.J. Oshie spent an unforgettable few hours in Hockeytown USA

WARROAD, MN—T.J. Oshie could have kicked off his day with the Stanley Cup any number of places he played en route to the Capitals.

But he brought it first to the place where his journey to NHL stardom took flight: Warroad, a quaint, lakeside Minnesota town that lies just a few miles from the Canadian border.

Why? Oshie moved here at 15 years old and attended Warroad High, where, thanks to an abundance of ice time, top-notch coaching and a hockey-obsessed environment, he quickly progressed from a promising youth player to a professional prospect.

“It’s a home that I found that welcomed me,” Oshie said. “It’s been a long time that I’ve been saying if I ever won it, that I’d bring it back here.”

And so on Tuesday, Oshie followed through on that promise, bringing hockey’s biggest prize to Warroad, which has a population of only 1,800 but is known as the original Hockeytown USA due to its history of producing elite talent.

Former NHL and Olympic star Dave Christian grew up here. So did current Islanders standout Brock Nelson and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Gigi Marvin. It’s also produced dozens of Division I players as well as numerous high school state champions.

Oshie, however, is the first Warroad alum to hoist the Cup.

After arriving on a private jet and pulling into town in a convertible 1933 Lincoln, Oshie received a hero’s welcome at the Gardens Arena, where the town had arranged for a program in his honor.

The mayor, Bob Marvin, declared July 24th 'T.J. Oshie Day’ in Warroad.

“That was very unexpected and pretty amazing that I get my own day here in town,” Oshie said. “It’s really cool for my family.”

Oshie was also saluted by a Native American honor song, a nod to his ancestry and family’s roots in Warroad.

Following the welcome, Oshie took to the stage and addressed the estimated 2,500 on hand, thanking his family as well as his former coaches and teammates for the role they’ve played in his success. He also offered some advice to the young players in the crowd: work hard, respect your teammates and opponents and, most of all, have fun.

And then Oshie posed for a picture with every…single…team in town, from the mites to the Warroad High varsity squads.

He also made sure to get a photo with Gigi Marvin, a high school classmate.

The Cup’s visit meant just as much to the residents of Warroad.

“We’ve had a lot of success in Warroad, with gold medals and whatnot,” said Izzy Marvin, owner of Izzy’s Lounge and a huge supporter of the town’s hockey initiatives. “But to have the Cup come home is pretty special. We’re very thankful for T.J. He could have brought it to Grand Forks [where he played college hockey at the University of North Dakota]. He could have brought it to Everett, Washington [where he grew up]. But he brought it here.”

Marvin added: “It’s kind of the missing link to all of the success in the hockey world that Warroad has had, and all of the players we’ve had. The Stanley Cup was missing from that.”

Longtime youth and high school coach Son Shaugabay shared a similar sentiment.

“It completed the circle of hockey in Warroad,” he said. “With T.J. and the Caps winning it, that was my first emotion—Warroad has everything now. It’s truly Hockeytown USA.”

After posing for what seemed like a hundred pictures, Oshie went for the traditional “whip” around town in the classic Lincoln.

Along the route, Oshie made stops at a couple of his favorite bars. (Though, somewhat regrettably, he did NOT drink a beer through his shirt.)

The whip through Warroad ended in the same place the cruises did when Oshie was a teenager: at Lake of the Woods. There, Oshie and his family—wife Lauren and daughters Lyla and Leni—posed for one final picture on the pier before heading back to the airport.

Oshie’s day ended with a nightcap in Minneapolis, where he shared the Cup with Washington teammates Shane Gersich and Travis Boyd as well as some of his former teammates at North Dakota.

But the decision to start his day in Warroad was, in his words, a “no-brainer” because of the special place it occupies in his heart.

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Watch T.J. Oshie teach his daughter Lyla how to ride a bike

Watch T.J. Oshie teach his daughter Lyla how to ride a bike

Despite the circumstances, the past few weeks have been an exciting time for the Oshie family.

Just over two weeks ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie and his wife, Lauren, welcomed their third child into the world, Campbell.

But on Sunday, it was the couple's oldest child, Lyla, that stole the show.

Lyla, who just turned six last month, accomplished something that she will remember for years to come: learning how to ride a bike.  

How adorable is that?

As Lyla bikes up the driveway, T.J. is a step behind her, making sure she doesn't fall. The Caps winger had an ear-to-ear grin on his face, such a proud dad.

With the NHL season on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, hopefully more Papa Oshie content comes as a result.

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Braden Holtby sets franchise record for shutouts in blowout simulation win over Panthers

Braden Holtby sets franchise record for shutouts in blowout simulation win over Panthers

The Capitals got plenty of offense in the latest NHL 20 simulation, but they didn't need it as Braden Holtby turned aside 36 shots to become the team's all-time shutout leader in a  5-0 blowout of the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Result: Caps 5, Panthers 0

1st period

1-0 Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

2nd period

2-0 Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom from Nick Jensen and T.J. Oshie

3-0 Caps goal (power play): Jakub Vrana from T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom

https://twitter.com/NBCSCapitals/status/1246580242438815745?s=20               

3rd period

4-0 Caps goal: Brenden Dillon from Evgeny Kuznetsov

5-0 Caps goal: Tom Wilson from Alex Ovechkin and Brenden Dillon

How the Caps won

1. Fast start

What kind of a game was this going to be? We found in just 61 seconds as Kuznetsov wasted no time to get the Caps the lead. Washington would lead the rest of the way.

Carlson charged the blue line to keep a loose puck from getting out of the zone. He passed it up to Ovechkin who made a quick backhand pass to Kuznetsov in the slot to score the goal.

2. Possession

Florida somehow recorded 36 shots on goal, but did they ever really have possession of the puck in this game? It didn't feel like it. The Panthers had trouble defending against the Caps' offense as they struggled to keep the puck out of the defensive zone and struggled to get it out once it got there.

Florida also had no answer for Washington's physicality. The Caps threw their bodies around all game long to separate the Panthers from the puck and Florida just took it.

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3. A long-awaited shutout

It's been a long time coming. Holtby had not recorded a shutout all season long and finally got one in the final game of the regular season with 36 saves. The shutout is the 36th of Holtby's career, which gives Holtby the most in franchise history, moving him one ahead of Olie Kolzig. Or it would have of course if it was not a simulation.

In the few opportunities in which Florida did manage to keep the puck long enough to set up its offense, Holtby was there and gave the Panthers no daylight with which to shoot on. 

Next game

This was the final game of the regular season. Check back with NBC Sports Washington for a simulated playoff.

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