When the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks took to the ice on Wednesday night, it was the first game action for many of the players in about three weeks; the NHL took their usual Olympic break so that players could represent their respective countries in Sochi.
For three players though, it was a chance to pick up where they left off. Three players for the Blues represented Team USA during the Olympics; David Backes, Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Oshie were part of the team that lost last Saturday in the Bronze Medal game.
If these three weren’t already well-known NHL names before the Olympics, they are known now. Backes and Shattenkirk made their presence known in huge way each and every game during the Olympic games, however, Oshie is the name that everyone remembers.
During a game against Team Russia that was deemed an instant classic, Oshie single-handedly defeated the Russians. During a shootout in a 2-2 tie, Team USA called upon the young Blues forward to take six of the eight penalty shots. Oshie connected on four of the six shots to give Team USA a 3-2 win in the shootout.
Perhaps that’s why we love the Olympics. Even a Dallas Stars fan like myself found a reason to cheer for players from the Blues. For two weeks, we weren’t rivals in the NHL, but we were cheering on the country in which we live. For two weeks, we were all hoping and cheering for the same cause.
Now that the Olympics are over though, it’s time to get back to the NHL and back to me cheering against Oshie, Backes and Shattenkirk. I’ll always remember those two weeks, however, as they changed my mind about these three players.