I never really understood Oshie’s elevated status here, and the star treatment that came with it. Not that this was all Oshie’s doing, but he personified the Blues’ celebrity culture, and the attitude of self-entitlement that permeated the locker room at times.
Oshie wasn’t the most disciplined player early in his Blues years. He matured off the ice but never reached his full potential as a player. The overrated Oshie had one 20-goal season here, missed nearly 20 percent of the Blues’ games over his seven seasons, never evolved into a leader, and fell into the shadows with teammates who vanished under extreme postseason pressure.
Though he dismissively plays it off now, Oshie criticized coach Ken Hitchcock late last season. This took some gall; I’ll give Oshie that. No one is saying that it’s easy to play for Hitchcock, but he did coach Dallas to a Stanley Cup and ranks fourth in NHL history for most career victories.
What has Oshie won?
Blues GM Doug Armstrong had to change the mix, and subtract from a veteran nucleus that’s failed miserably and repeatedly in its annual postseason trial under fire. You can’t keep bringing the same people back and expect a different result.
Oshie may have been a rock star off the ice, but he wasn’t a star when the Blues needed him to come up big in the playoffs.
The physical and mentally tough Brouwer has three 20-goal seasons, and will trade his pain for the grubby goal that wins close games. Brouwer ranks high on the charts for hits and blocked shots, and wins more than 50 percent of his faceoffs.
And though his postseason stats are ordinary, Brouwer scored four goals in the 2010 tournament to help the Chicago Blackhawks win their first of three Stanley Cups under coach Joel Quenneville.
That’s all I need to know. Brouwer may not be the most dazzling performer, but he’s an honest player who understands what it takes to prevail during the NHL’s mean season. It’s that special time when the weather and the pressure heat up, with contenders falling to the side as a hardened champion emerges.
I’m sorry that the Oshie groupies are grieving, but I’m getting older and would like to see the Blues win a Stanley Cup.