ST. LOUIS — T.J. Oshie has had more than hockey on his mind lately.
The St. Louis Blues star forward has been spending much of his time away from the ice with his newborn daughter, Lyla Grace Oshie, at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Lyla was born on St. Patrick’s Day with a congenital defect called gastroschisis, a type of hernia where there is a hole in the abdominal wall and the intestines are outside of the abdominal wall. She needed corrective surgery soon after her birth.
Oshie and his fiancee, Lauren Cosgrove, appeared on NBC’s Today Show on Friday morning to talk about the situation. Then Oshie spoke with reporters about it for the first time following Friday’s practice at Scottrade Center.
"It was scary going through it all, but the doctors and surgeons were doing such a great job," Oshie told reporters. "So I guess, as comfortable as you can be with your first-born having to go through something like this, I think we’ve done a pretty good job."
Oshie and Cosgrove knew about the condition before the birth, so they were as prepared as they could have been for what was to come. But it hasn’t been an easy time from them. They weren’t even able to hold their daughter at first because of her condition.
"It was the most wonderful feeling being able to hold her for the first time," Cosgrove told The Today Show. "I can’t even really describe how it felt. It was great."
Now, the hope is that Lyla Grace can come home Monday, four weeks after her birth.
"We’re just taking it day by day, hour by hour and spending as much time with her as we can," Oshie said. "Cross our fingers, she’s been doing great. She’s way ahead of the curve. She’s feeding. Her stomach is all closed up. She doesn’t have any IVs or feeding tubes anymore, so we’re able to hold her. We’re going about it like we would at home."
It has been a trying time for the young family, which has been supported by their friends and family as well as teammates and the rest of the Blues organization.
"They’ve all known, all my teammates, the trainers and everyone have been so supportive," Oshie told reporters. "(Doug) Armstrong and (Ken) Hitchcock said right away, ‘If there’s any time where you have to be there, family comes first.’ So that’s great having them behind me and their support, it means a lot.
"The worst is behind us and we’re hoping she’ll come home Monday. If she does, she’ll be just like any normal baby."
Oshie, 27, missed a game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets on the day of Lyla’s birth, but it’s been business as usual on the ice for the electric forward, who is tied for the team lead with a career-high 60 points.
He had a goal and two assists in a win at Toronto on March 25 and followed that up with his first career hat trick against Minnesota two days later at Scottrade Center. He netted a shootout goal in the win against Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The fan favorite and U.S. Olympian has six points in eight games since Lyla was born while the Blues aiming for the top spot in the Western Conference and the second Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history.
Being on the ice, for practices and games, has become a refuge for him. It’s the only time his thoughts aren’t completely focused on his little girl and everything she has had to go through in her first few weeks.
But Oshie has been celebrating victories on and off the ice lately.
He shared one of the off-ice moments with reporters on Friday.
"Me and Lauren cheered when we found the first poopy diaper," Oshie said. "Because that’s a sign that things are going well. I’ve been changing diapers all week. I love it."