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.
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...