Feb 15, 2014, 10:42 AM EDT
The 27-year-old has never scored more than 19 goals in his young career and is far, far down the list of the team’s most recognizable players. To some, it was flabbergasting that U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma kept sending him out for big attempts while high-scoring forwards Phil Kessel, Zach Parise and Patrick Kane watched from the bench. Especially since Russia rolled out stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk in the same situation.
But it worked, as he nailed four of six, including the deciding tally.
If you want a little more background on Bylsma’s decision-making process, here’s a quick look at how Oshie has fared in shootouts at the NHL level:
- Oshie is currently tied with Logan Couture and Jonathan Toews for the NHL lead in shootout goals with seven. While those players have connected on a bit more than 50 percent of their attempts, Oshie’s success rate is 70 percent this season.
- He didn’t receive a ton of chances in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, but he connected on two of his three attempts.
- Since coming into the league in 2008-09, Oshie has 25 shootout goals.
Does that mean he deserved every chance? That’s debatable … but it’s clear that there was plenty of logic behind what seemed to some like a strange strategy.
Part of the plan
ESPN’s behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. team’s construction hints that Oshie was on the bubble for a final roster spot alongside the likes of Brandon Saad and Bobby Ryan. His shootout prowess may very well have been the tie-breaker, at least to U.S. GM David Poile.
“Oshie’s got that shootout move,” Poile said.
Oshie’s post-game reaction seems fitting, then; he told NBC’s Pierre McGuire that he was “running out of moves” as his attempts kept piling up.
As this great panoramic shot from AP reveals, his teammates seemed OK with him taking shootout shot after shot:
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 15, 2014
- Rulon Gardner on returning to wrestling training, getting his gold medal back 0
- David Letterman and the Olympics 0
- Caster Semenya: I can’t stop running because of gender controversy 0
- Roger Bannister’s shoes from 4-minute mile set for auction 1
- Justin Gatlin ‘kicked out’ of Beijing track meet 1
- Michael Phelps self-assessment: ‘horrendous,’ ‘garbage’ after winless Charlotte meet 5
- Mao Asada blogs about returning to figure skating 2
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)