SBD/February 17, 2014/Franchises

Lord Of The Rings: Oshie's Olympic Triumph Could Help Boost Blues' Business

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Oshie's performance could help bump up the Blues' 19th-ranked attendance
Blues RW T.J. Oshie's "enhanced star power" after scoring four shootout goals for the U.S. against Russia on Saturday will "create a buzz that can boost business" for the team, according to Bernie Miklasz of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The Blues went into the NHL Olympic break 19th in average home attendance at 16,263 fans per game "despite having the league’s No. 1 winning percentage." Blues President of Business Operations Bruce Affleck said, "It’s a team game, but we hope it can make a difference. Hopefully his shootout performance against Russia and everything that came after it is something that will raise awareness, and excite the more casual fans out there." He added, "Oshie is going to be even more popular now, and that’s good for the Blues." Miklasz notes the Blues have three players on Team USA -- Oshie, C David Backes and D Kevin Shattenkirk -- and if the U.S. can "capture the gold, more empty seats will fill at Scottrade Center" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/17).

LIVING IN THE LIMELIGHT: In a special to USA TODAY, Bob Kravitz notes Oshie's life "changed" for at least a day, as he "had interview requests from all the major U.S. TV and radio shows, including 'Today,' 'Good Morning America' and everybody this side of Oprah." USA Hockey Senior Dir of Communications Dave Fischer said, "We tried to accommodate them the best we could, but there's only so much you can do. Plus, with the (nine-hour) time difference, it's tough to get to all of them." Kravitz notes Oshie nonetheless "did a bunch" of interviews. After addressing the media at the "mixed zone, he went to a larger news conference at the main media center." Oshie then went to NBC's studios to talk with Dan Patrick, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth "before returning to his room in the Athletes Village around 10:15" (USA TODAY, 2/17). In Philadelphia, Al Morganti wrote, "No matter what happens from here, what Oshie did ... Saturday will forever earn him a spot in Olympic legend" (PHILLY.com, 2/15). In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote, "This achievement by Oshie -- who sure isn’t unknown any more -- is something that will long be remembered. He won’t have to buy very often, if at all" (N.Y. POST, 2/16).

KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE: In California, Scott Reid writes Oshie is "visibly uneasy in the spotlight that has followed him" since the U.S.-Russia game. Oshie Saturday night said, "The American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me." He added yesterday, "When I heard the word hero it just didn’t really, didn’t really seem that’s what I am, what hockey players are. Those guys sacrifice a lot more than a couple of hours in the gym and practice every day. Those guys sacrifice their lives." Reid writes Oshie's "throwback personality will further endear him to a nation starving for American stars at an Olympics so far largely devoid of them" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/17).
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St. Louis Blues, NHL, Franchises

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