CHICAGO --T.J. Oshie is chasing one of his dreams while living the other.
When Oshie arrives at the rink he becomes one of the St. Louis Blues' most important players as a first-line right wing that is as big a part of the offense as anyone. When Oshie gets home, he becomes someone completely different, a father to Lyla Grace, born on March 17.
However, it hasn't been easy in either area lately.
Lyla Grace was born with a defect called gastroschisis, where part of the baby's intestines remain outside of the body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, gastroschisis occurs "early during the pregnancy when the muscles that form the abdominal wall do not form correctly."
Surgery is required shortly after birth to place the abdominal organs inside the baby's body and repair the abdominal wall. Oshie spent all of his free hours away from the rink at the hospital until Lyla Grace was allowed to go home last week.
That was a few days after he got hit in the head by Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp on April 10, forcing him to miss the last two regular season games and Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, with Lyla Grace home and Oshie back in the lineup, the personal adversity he faced appears to be behind him. Oshie spoke about his health, his daughter, his fame since the 2014 Sochi Olympics and more with NHL.com after the morning skate prior to Game 3 on Monday.
Here are Five Questions with … T.J. Oshie:
How scared were you about a promising, potentially dream-come-true season ending prematurely when you went down in that game against the Minnesota Wild on April 10?
"I think right away I didn't think it was going to be anything serious, and then a couple of days later I was like, 'Gosh, if this doesn't get any better I'm not going to be back in.' I tend to stay pretty positive, but it was a pretty scary thing. This is the first season I've stayed healthy pretty much the whole time and in Game 80 this happens, pretty scary."
How, if at all, has the fame you have received since that incredible shootout in the Olympics changed you? I mean, you're in commercials, making appearances on the Today Show. Has it done anything to you?
"I don't think anything has changed at all. I guess I got a lot more followers on Twitter, but other than that it's the same everyday things. It's not like I'm doing more or less, or getting more attention. It seems like everything seems to be the same. It's nice having the support on your side, but I haven't noticed much of a difference. I am in my own little bubble. With my daughter being born, that takes my attention. I don't put attention on the other stuff."
How do you balance chasing this dream of yours of winning the Stanley Cup with what is going on at home with a newborn daughter, and how is your daughter?
"She's doing great. She's home. She's growing. She's eating. She's pooping. And when I get home, that's my time to be with her and Lauren and my family. When I get to the rink, it's time to win games. That's how you've gotta look at it. I enjoy doing both, so it makes it easy on me. I've been able to do this my whole career, my whole life. I just focus on one thing and move on to the next. Maybe sometimes people would like me to focus on more things at once, but that's just the way I am."
Understandably, the shootout doesn't matter in the playoffs, but a penalty shot could. Where do you get your shootout skills from? How have you developed them?
"I think it's just from practice and having fun. We've always had some good goalies here that I've been working on, so I've always had to do some different things on them, and once they know what you're doing you've gotta shake things up and try new things. Through experimentation you find new moves, they seem to work, and they become your own signature moves."
What is different about the Blues, the attitude around the team, now compared to last year?
"It seems like we just keep going. The biggest slump was at the end of the season, but even during the season any time we had kind of lulls or we weren't doing our best it seemed like whether it was a guy like [Jaden Schwartz], [Alex Pietrangelo], [Alexander Steen] or [David] Backes, we always had someone that would answer the bell for us and everyone would kind of jump on board. It seems like every night there's a different leader and everyone else follows."