Capitals forward T.J. Oshie suffered an undisclosed “upper-body” injury during the second period of Washington’s game against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. The team then announced he would not return to the game and would be reevaluated Tuesday.
On a penalty kill, Oshie hit Sharks forward Logan Couture in the corner. With Oshie low and unbalanced, San Jose’s Joe Thornton crunched Oshie’s head against the glass with his backside. Oshie crumpled to the ice and remained down in apparent pain before head athletic trainer Jason Serbus attended to him. Oshie then skated back to the bench on his own power, and he went straight to the locker room.
Through 28 games, Oshie has 10 goals and 13 assists this season, the first of the eight-year deal he signed this summer. He is coming off a career year last season, when he scored 33 goals in 68 games. Four of the 14 games he missed were due to a concussion, and the other 10 were for a shoulder injury.
Capitals Coach Barry Trotz did not provide an update on Oshie’s health after the game, and he said he would let the NHL’s department of player safety determine whether Thornton’s hit was an illegal one because it was late. Capitals forward Tom Wilson fought Thornton in the third period in response to the hit.
“He’s an honest player,” Wilson said of Thornton. “He was one of my favorite players growing up. He’s what’s good for the game, and in that instance, that hit, I didn’t like personally and I don’t think our team liked. Any time a guy is down, it’s kind of a no-hit zone. It’s part of the game. He stood up for himself afterwards. I respect him for that. But Osh is one of our best players. He’s one of the leaders in this room. Honestly, it’s not great to see that hit in that instance. Obviously, hoping Osh makes a full recovery and feels better soon.”
Said Thornton: “He was just falling a little bit. It’s not like I ran him or anything. I bumped him and it felt like my hip kind of hit him in the head. So it’s just unfortunate what happened.”
To Thornton’s point, the hit is unlikely to receive any discipline from the department of player safety because in the NHL rule book under illegal checks to the head, “whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact” is a factor considered.
Sharks Coach Peter DeBoer was unhappy that Wilson challenged Thornton to a fight.
“If someone would have grabbed Joe in the heat of the moment after the play because they thought a liberty was taken, then I’ve got no problem with that,” DeBoer said. “To go into the dressing room, think about it, come out in the first shift and do that premeditated crap is just garbage.”
While the Thornton hit may not receive any league discipline, a slash by San Jose’s Brenden Dillon on Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey “will get a look” from player safety, according to a source. The NHL has been cracking down on slashes, fining players more often for that this season. Dillon got a game misconduct and a five-minute major for the slash, and Trotz said after the game that Bowey is “okay.”