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Taking the body is one of the most important aspects of hockey – you have to knock the opponent off the puck and create turnovers and chances to move up-ice. It’s not all about seeing if you can kill someone (though that’s really fun in NHL11, especially if you’re playing the Habs and controlling a player taller than 6 feet – go after Brian Gionta and see what happens). It’s a valid strategy that’s vital to hockey. Apparently in honor of the Blues playing the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, Justin Bourne of The Hockey News has decided to highlight the skills of TJ Oshie in doing so. I’ve long said that Oshie is a pinball on skates out there – he’s got more energy than some teams have as a whole. He is an expert at knocking people off their skates and off their game. Apparently Teej has a “method.”
But with the Oshie method, you don’t have to get blasted – it just involves a little deception.
The trick here is to keep skating like you’re willing to get to the puck first and take the hit. Smart players used to work to get themselves against the glass here (as opposed to coasting), so their opponent would bounce off them and they wouldn’t have to deal with the extra feet of separation between them and the boards that can be so dangerous.
Oshie is particularly adept at acting like he doesn’t know his opponent is there or that he’s going to go in and take that hit up against the glass.
You have to keep your feet moving to make it look like that’s the plan, but prepare to plant your skates nice and early. Before you approach the boards, you dig in, turn back and land a stiff shoulder into the chest of the guy who’s all excited to get a free shot on you.
Given the direction you’re moving, you can rarely generate enough force to blow the guy up and since it usually appears to be minor, if not incidental contact, you almost never get an interference call. It’s right on the line between clean and dirty, but definitely in the category of “effective,” as contact rarely comes that early.
If someone wants to make an infomercial for The Oshie Method, be my guest. That thing’ll be posted here and at Game Time so fast your head’ll spin. Heck, get Chara in there to testify to its effectiveness. Better yet, how about just chatting up Rick Nash for a testimonial. He’s an old pro at getting Oshied.