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Blues' Oshie juggles celebrity, hockey after Olympics

by Louie Korac

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- There he was, face to face in the slot, staring into the eyes of another goalie with the puck on his stick.

But this time, T.J. Oshie wasn't going against Sergei Bobrovsky and he wasn't being thrust into the spotlight of an entire nation and a global television audience.


-- Invited to the White House Correspondents' Dinner

-- Appearances on NBC's "Today" Show, ESPN's "Mike & Mike In The Morning," Extra Entertainment and the Golf Channel, which dissected Oshie's golf swing

-- Oshie's family received an invite to ABC's "Good Morning America"

-- Invites to the "Jimmy Kimmel Show" and CNN's "Piers Morgan Show"

-- An invite to Valhalla for the Ryder Cup from PGA president Ted Bishop; he received a signed golf bag from the U.S. Ryder Cup team

-- Feature pieces in Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest

-- Several U.S. military organizations have reached out in support

-- Twitter followers went from 80,000 to 255,000; a congratulatory tweet was sent from the White House and President Barack Obama

-- Oshie's No. 74 Blues jersey jumped to second in sales behind Sidney Crosby's No. 87 Pittsburgh Penguins jersey since the conclusion of the Sochi Olympics

Oshie just needed rhythm. He needed style points more than anything. That's all Enterprise Rent-A-Car was asking of the St. Louis Blues forward who represented the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics when they asked him to represent them and the NHL in a commercial that will air during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The commercial being shot Wednesday afternoon at the Blues' practice facility inside St. Louis Outlet Mall's Ice Zone had Oshie shooting pucks at an Enterprise employee in a suit and tie.

Will Oshie watch himself on TV?

"I was thinking about that," he told "I tend not to watch any of my interviews. I was on NBC and did a couple things on there. I haven't watched those yet.

"I get a little nervous, a little shy to watch myself. To see myself on there for the first time, it's going to be pretty cool."

This was a far cry from what Oshie faced when the game was in the balance for the U.S. against Russia. Oshie was called upon six times in the shootout and scored four times against Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets to give the United States a 3-2 victory.

"My main goal was just to win the game," Oshie said. "Every kid always wants to be in that position. The team's depending on you to decide the game, win the game for them. For me, it was special in that regard, but it was just a round-robin game for me and we were just focused on the next game after."

Oshie, 27, who is tied for the Blues lead in points (50) with Alexander Steen, has become an instant celebrity whether he likes it or not.

"Once I got back, it's just really been focusing on playing with the Blues and getting two points every night," Oshie said. "It's been pretty easy for me to focus on playing here in St. Louis and not focus too much on attention."

It's been a hectic time for Oshie, who's trying to juggle guest appearances and invitations while playing a major role with the NHL's best team.

"I have a pretty easy time just kind of focusing on what I need to do and like to fly under the radar a little bit," Oshie said. "All the attention's great. I think it's good for the game, it's good for the St. Louis Blues here and USA Hockey. Other than that, it's easy for me to go about my normal business."

The Blues (44-14-7), who lead the NHL with 95 points, will need all of Oshie's attention as they pursue what would be the franchise's second Presidents' Trophy. But Oshie admitted doing the commercial was fun and represented a nice change of pace to a hectic hockey schedule.

"It is a different look for me. That's for sure," Oshie said. "But sitting here in my gear and shooting pucks, it doesn't come more natural than that.

"It's been great. Everyone here with Enterprise has been doing a good job. It's been an easy transition. I came in, put on my gear and started shooting."

However, a second career is not in the cards.

"I don't know. I better stick to my deal here in St. Louis and just playing hockey," Oshie said. "I don't know if I've got the poise to stay on a set and memorize lines and things like that."

2014 has been a year Oshie won't soon forget. Besides the Olympic experience, he's engaged to his longtime girlfriend Lauren; they are expecting their first child in the next week. The Blues are also contenders for their first Stanley Cup.

"I definitely won't forget it. It's been a whirlwind," Oshie said. "The best is yet to come.

"I'm here with a baby on the way in about a week or so. But it is great. A lot of support has been shown to me and my [U.S.] teammates over there and my teammates here in St. Louis. It's been a fun ride."

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