As expected, T.J. Oshie won’t be joining the Washington Capitals on the ice any time soon. The team announced today that Oshie underwent a successful surgical procedure to repair a broken collarbone, and is out indefinitely.
Oshie, 32, was injured when a push from behind sent him hard into the boards in game four of the Capitals first round series. Warren Foegele, the Carolina Hurricanes forward who hit him, was not given any supplementary discipline for the play though he did get some added attention from members of the Capitals in game five. Oshie meanwhile will miss at least the next several weeks if not the entire rest of the playoffs.
There have been players who come back from collarbone surgery in a matter of weeks, but for that possibility to happen the Capitals would need to go deep into the playoffs if not make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Without Oshie on the ice that will be a tough ask, given how important he is to their team. The veteran forward recorded 25 goals and 54 points in 69 games this season and was a key part of the team’s championship run a year ago. An effective two-way player, his defense and physicality is sometimes just as important as the offense he provides for the Capitals.
Perhaps playing a little harder in honor of their injured teammate, the Capitals dissected the Hurricanes last night to the tune of a 6-0 win. They’ll now have two chances to advance to the second round, starting tomorrow evening in Carolina. In the vacant forward spot the team inserted playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly, who received several standing ovations from the home crowd and was a welcome addition after spending much of the year in the minor leagues. While he obviously doesn’t replace Oshie completely, his presence will be a welcome addition as the Capitals look to repeat their performance from last year.