oleksy-face-after-game

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Steve Oleksy played in 14 playoff games in professional hockey before tonight: with the Idaho Steelheads, the Lake Erie Monsters, and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He had never played in an NHL postseason game, because, until March of this year, he was little more than an AHL role player.

Thursday though, he set up the game-winning goal in the Washington’s 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers to open up the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. And it was awesome.

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Dat pass. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)

Seven minutes after Alex Ovechkin tied the game with — guess what — a power play goal in the second period, Oleksy scooped a loose puck in the defensive zone. In one slick move, Binky spun around and fired a beautiful 75 foot pass to Marcus Johansson, who was waiting at the far blueline. With a few strides and a wrist shot, the Caps had a 2-1 lead. Forty-six seconds later, it was 3-1.

24 minutes and 53 seconds after that, the home team held a 1-0 series lead.

“I was able to calm it down a little bit and get my head up,” Oleksy said after the game. “I waited an extra second to let him get going a little bit, allow him to get into stride.”

“He did a great job finding a lane there and giving me an opportunity to make that pass,” he added. I think they kinda lost him there for a second and he did a great job finding the spot. It allowed me a take a chance to make that pass. It was him that finished, he did a great job getting that shot away and scoring.

Since being called up as a relatively unknown dude from Hershey who likes to punch people in the face sometimes, Oleksy has become a pretty important player for the Caps, settling in to the team’s third pairing alongside Jack Hillen and getting a three-year contract with the organization. He only became a full-time AHL this year.

Steve’s been doing it all year,” Jason Chimera said of his play. “He’s been surprising a lot of people, but it’s not surprise to us.”

“It took a while for somebody to realize it,” added Karl Alzner. “It’s nice that they did figure out he could play. Obviously he’s stepping up the challenge right now. He’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s a smart kid so he knows how to play — I shouldn’t say kid, he’s older than I am. He’s a smart guy.”

Video via @DCSportsBog

Oleksy also showed how tough he is too. Despite perpetually getting his face bloodied and bruised, Oleksy doesn’t miss shifts. Late in the second period Thursday, the defenseman took a shot to the jaw, crumbling to the ice in pain. He stayed on the bench and by the third was back on the ice. The dude has more guts than you, but after the game Oleksy downplayed the incident.

oleksy-face

Screengrab by @dcsportsbog

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It’s been a lot worse. I skated away pretty fast. I was excited. I figured I was in for about 20 stitches the way I cut.”

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  • sheena dunn

    Oleksy is a beast!!!!!!

  • im_so_icey

    Ay dat boi Oleksy nice

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.eklund Derek Eklund

    Heart!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MattyMcNeels Matt McNeely

    This dude’s face is ALWAYS a mess. I wonder if he punches himself in his sleep… helluva hockey player!

  • JenniferH

    Binky is the best!

  • Ritari330

    Figured this was pretty close to describing his face

  • Ritari330
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    [slow clap]

  • http://www.facebook.com/Funployee Greg Girard

    I’m warming to him. He’s always in good position, smart player, tons of heart and grit to boot. Usually noticing D-men is bad but he was all over my TV tonight and every time it was a smart, solid play.

  • Sage Confucius

    Binky got a manly booboo! Go Binky!

  • rmontcal

    I gained so much/even more respect for him last night, the way he hopped up off the ice after getting hit with the puck!

  • lrhflute

    He is slowly climbing the ladder of my personal favorite player rankings (right after Brooks, Brouwer, Hendy, Holtby….oh hell, I love our team!) LET’S GO CAPS!! :)

  • smash8

    That pass gives me goosebumps everytime i watch it. Love that kid!!

  • OlietheGoalie

    Good job, Binkers.

  • puckwx

    Adamantium in his jaw…

  • http://www.facebook.com/Photon.Nyan.Kat Kathleen Meredith

    Possible shirt: Baby beast with a Binky? I see great things happening here.

  • troyerlaw

    i liked his quote to the effect of, “Ninety percent of the time I look like I was hit by a car. The other ten percent is the offseason.”

    Nice bit of journalism here by RMNB, btw. Neatly summarizes the heroic efforts of 61 with mix of text, photo & video. Increasingly RMNB, HFBoards, and TSN are the only places I go to read about hockey. I don’t even bother w/ Post or Times anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    Meme of the Year?

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidr.wahnish David R Wahnish

    Nicely ‘shopped, puckwx!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Yeah, dude. I saw Oleksy loved it too on Twitter. Congrats and thanks for sharing!