St. Louis Blues T.J. Oshie proves he belongs in NHL: Fan’s take

It's just the start of training camp for the St. Louis Blues and already one person has proven he wants to forget about last season. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports fourth-year player T.J. Oshie(notes) is one of the fittest in training camp after the first day of fitness trials. Oshie said he wanted to prove to the Blues he had grown up.

T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues.
Wikimedia Commons

Apparently it worked. If it translates into more playing time for the 24-year-old center/forward from the University of North Dakota , then Oshie needs to start as soon as possible. During the grueling NHL season, having young and fit legs on the ice is crucial when combined with smart players.

We already know Oshie can play. Last year he had 34 points on 12 goals and 22 assists. He had a better year in 2009 with six more goals and eight more assists. The problem with the 2010-2011 season was that Oshie missed a team practice and was suspended by the Blues for two games. If he stays out of trouble, NHL.com predicts Oshie will have a breakout year.

His attitude is exactly what the ailing hockey franchise needs. There have been too many distractions over the sale of the team, having a losing season and missing the playoffs five out of the last six years. No one expects the Blues to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals with just a simple attitude change. But Oshie's example is the reason why good players inspire the others around him. If a young talent in the league can do it, surely the veterans on the ice can bring their level of play up to speed.

Oshie also has to avoid injuries just like any team that wants to compete. He also missed 31 games last year due to a broken ankle. Imagine what he can do when he's healthy for a whole season. That's also why being physically able to do your job is important—the forward will have a better chance to recuperate from injuries should he be victimized again this year.

Oshie is just one piece of the puzzle the ailing Blues need to have a successful season. Head coach Davis Payne should take advantage of his young star's moxie and try to bottle his enthusiasm for the rest of the team throughout the season.

William Browning was born in St. Louis and has been a lifelong Blues fan .

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Updated Monday, Sep 19, 2011