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MOFT: Episode 12 (St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie)

Just a few weeks ago, I fell in love with singer Ingrid Michaelson while watching her perform an amazing concert.

After 35 years of living, I had my first celebrity crush. I man-crush you, T.J. (courtesy of usahockeymagazine.com)

Well apparently, celebrity crushes come in bunches because I already have another one ... and this time, it's for a man, baby.

That's right - I now find myself totally jonesing for St. Louis Blues hockey player T.J. Oshie. And I'm not afraid to admit it. This is an enlightened society, right? A movie called 'I Love You, Man' is the nation's number one comedy, after all.

Now I know by merely mentioning hockey, I probably just lost at least half of dagblog's regular readers (hey acanuck!!), but if for no other reason than to see a man without any hint of irony or embarrassment express his intense affection for another man,  please stay with me a bit longer so I can explain what's so amazing about this 22-year-old rookie from the University of North Dakota.

Oshie is without a doubt a very solid technical hockey player. He's a speedy, agile skater who's got mad stick skills which he uses often to make defenders look silly. For a player his age, he's also got an amazing, almost uncanny ability to read the ice and know where to go with the puck. He plays strong on defense and is versatile enough to be used on both the Blues' power play and penalty kill special team units.

But the real reason Oshie is so special - and why he has become My One Favorite Thing of the week - has nothing to do with his physical talents but is all about the way he plays the game, the size of the kid's heart.

Oshie's not a big dude, at least in terms of NHL players, coming in at an official (and from my eyes, generously measured) 6 feet 0 inches and 194 pounds. But he plays like an absolute lion, going 110% every shift, throwing his body around without any regard for his physical well-being.

Every game, Oshie skates with intensity, aggression, and most importantly, infectious joy, and his impact is having a dramatic effect on the entire team as the Blues are on one of the most exciting late-season runs in recent memory.

Dwelling at the bottom of the conference just a few weeks ago, the team is now battling hard to nail down one of the final playoff spots with two weeks left in the season. In January, I predicted that with a core bunch of talented young players (David Backes, David Perron, Patrick Berglund, Brad Boyes, Roman Polak, Erik Johnson to name a few),  the Blues would soon be a force to be reckoned with, winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup within five years.

But watching Oshie makes me think that timetable could be moved up considerably. Just look what Oshie has done for the Blues this week alone. Last Thursday night, after sitting out a morning practice skate with some sort of bug, Oshie scored two points with an assist and a highlight-reel goal (shown here) to help the Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2.

Then in a key back-to-back weekend series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Oshie showed what a stud he truly is. On Saturday night, after serving a stint in the penalty box, Oshie returned to the action and laid a huge, clean hit on Blue Jackets star Rick Nash, causing a bit of an on-ice ruckus since marquee players don't usually get hit like that.

The Blues ended up winning that game in an overtime shootout, and it was quite clear that the Blue Jackets wanted some vengeance during the next match, to be played in Columbus in less than 18 hours. But instead, Oshie just doubled down on his ultra-coolness by scoring the first goal of the Sunday game, adding an assist, and most awesomely, doing the following when Rick Nash tried to exact retaliation ...

The Blues won Sunday's game 5-2, moving for now into sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot.

Yeah, so I now got me a man-crush for T.J. Oshie. That's OK. I'm cool with it. And it''s not like I'm fawning all over Oshie's long wavy locks of hair or his baby face and the way his cheeks get all red and pinch-able when he exerts himself.

OK, maybe I should stop now. But T.J., I love you, man. Truly...

I don't know Oshie at all, but he does look good in the scoring clip: good hands and the patience rookies sometimes lack. Solid hits too. The wavy locks are just gravy.

Looks like the Blues have as firm a hold on a final playoff berth as the Canadiens do. I take back any ridicule I heaped on your team back in January, but remember that I was worried then about the Habs' mental and intestinal fragility. One head coach later, it's still unclear whether the team is finally coalescing. If they just back into the series, they'll be out in five games or less.

In any case, next year's Canadiens will look a lot different, probably a lot younger. An energetic team led by Vinnie Lecavalier, if rumors that refuse to die pan out.

you will be hearing a lot more of oshie in the years to come.

and yes, it will be a close call for both of our teams going down to the wire. tho dare i say the blues will be a much more dangerous opponent should they happen to sneak in the playoffs. Since Jan. 3 they've enjoyed a .684 winning percentage, tops in the league. All bets off tho if they have to play the Red Wings first round since Detroit has owned us, this year and every year.

and no worries on the earlier ridicule. even i didn't believe the team would make the playoffs this year.

god, i even hate talking like this. it's a total jinx.

If you're not there already, come join in at

St. Louis Game Time

Where Oshie is King of St. Louis and we're the court jester.

thanks milo. for the link above and the link love on your site (it's a great read!) go blues...

Speaking of gritty young players, the Leafs just signed Christian Hanson, son of the only real-life "Hanson brother" from Slap Shot. He'll dress for the game against Montreal Saturday. He's a pretty good player, although just about everyone will be expecting -- and hoping -- to see some colorful goonery.

As of tonight, we're both in seventh place. Way to go, Deadman.

big win for the blues, no doubt. the red wings own us, so i was shocked we won and came back so strong after wednesday night's uninspired performance. but that 7th place didnt last very long. it's very frustrating when the other teams are winning too. congrats on your win. they took it to the rangers tonight.

Nice post! Good writing. Wrong about the Habs going out so fast though.

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