Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blues ground Oshie two games for unexcused absence

Forward missed Tuesday's home game,
will miss tonight's game in Detroit

By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues sent a loud and clear message to T.J. Oshie: inexcusable actions will be met with proper punishment.

Oshie missed Monday's practice with the Blues saying it was "an unexcused absence." General manager Doug Armstrong announced Tuesday morning that Oshie would miss two games, Tuesday night's 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild and tonight's road game in Detroit. Armstrong and coach Davis Payne will then reevaluate things moving forward from there.

"We've decided that he'll miss the next two games and we'll reevaluate everything on Thursday when we get back from the road trip," Armstrong said succinctly. "... Right now for myself, for Davis and more importantly for the players, they have to focus on the four points at hand here in the next 24 hours and that's going to be the focus moving forward."

Armstrong nor Payne would not get into any specifics as to why Oshie missed, but it's quite obvious he violated a team rule and will meet the appropriate punishment.

"I'm not going to get into any of the details on what's gone on, what's been said, what's the storyline behind it, what were the conversations like," Payne said. "The bottom line is he's out these two games and it's based on him missing practice yesterday.

"We consider it (serious). I know Osh does as well. That's the message. We dealt with this situation last year with Patrik Berglund. These are not the type of actions that are required as a member of the St. Louis Blues, a member of this organization. Those are the consequences starting today and we'll move forward and look at it again on Thursday."

Oshie was not present at Scottrade Center Tuesday morning nor will he be allowed to participate in any team-related functions for at least two days. Armstrong specifically said that Oshie is not suspended nor will he be fined by the team.

"There's a responsibility for the players. He didn't meet that responsibility," Armstrong said of Oshie. "He'll pay the consequences as we move forward. ... He's a professional athlete. They have a job to do and you have to be prepared to do that job. He had an unexcused absence from practice and the consequences are he won't get to do what he loves to do, which is play hockey."

Oshie, 24, has had issues previously. As a junior at North Dakota in 2008, he was suspended one game after an arrest for disorderly conduct, reportedly stemming from public urination in a stuck elevator at Oshie's apartment building. Oshie was on probation at the time after he and then-teammate and current Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews were arrested in 2007 for being underage in a bar.

"There's consequences to his actions," Payne said of Oshie. "We'll start with these two days, these two games. He won't be with the team, he won't play. Doug and I will assess that going forward starting Thursday."

Oshie, who has 10 goals and 30 points in 44 games, is in the final year of an entry-level contract that pays him an $850,000 base salary and another $400,000 in bonuses. He will be a restricted free agent this off-season.

The Blues recalled Adam Cracknell on an emergency basis to take the place of Oshie.

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