Feb 15, 2014, 11:26 AM EST
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 Oshie out 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 Oshie 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 suggests 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:
Oh, and in case you’re wondering about Oshie’s shootout strategy…
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 15, 2014
- Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net 3
- Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten lawsuit after tweet goes to air 57
- Doan: Coyotes rebuild was ‘not my idea, not my ideal situation’ 28
- Video: Kessel says the way Toronto media treats Phaneuf is ‘embarrassing’ 47
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 9
- Rutherford: ‘Our guys felt very strongly about reacquiring’ Lovejoy 49
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline 78
- Giordano to have surgery, is ‘done for the season’ 22
- PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker 36
- Ducks get their veteran d-man, adding Wisniewski from Columbus 16
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline (78)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (74)