Bouwmeester Message to those who Knock Him "I Don't care Anymore"
Jay Bouwmeester doesn’t live in a hole somewhere deep underground. He hears the whispers loud and clear.
“I know what people say and it’s gotten to the point to where I don’t care anymore.”
Bouwmesster, a former third overall draft selection and once considered a can’t miss prospect, has never played an NHL playoff game in 10 seasons. That’s 762 regular season games without ever tasting the post-season.
That’ll change in just a few days.
The Blues have secured a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs after beating the Colorado Avalance on Tuesday.
Bouwmeester has played for teams who came close over the years. In 2008-2009 his Florida Panthers tied Montreal for the eighth and final spot in the East only to lose out in the tie breaker. When he came into the league the Panthers were a bottom of the barrel franchise and to this day are still struggling to maintain respectability.
The expectations were much higher in Calgary where the Flames came close multiple times but never got over the hump.
While people scoff at Bouwmeester and poke fun, it’s unrealistic to place blame solely on his shoulders. In the game of hockey everyone shares some responsibility. Just look at the current Tampa Bay Lightning and you’ll agree it takes more than just one or two players to have success. Look at the NY Rangers teams who tried to buy a Stanley Cup only to miss the playoffs several years in a row in the early 2000’s.
In a conversation I had with Bouwmeester Tuesday morning it was clear he’s excited about the opportunity to play post-season hockey. As you can imagine, this topic has been brought to his attention hundreds of times and considering he played in a Canadian market there were some who were never going to let it die.
At the very least he can now move on.
The 29 year old D-man says this Blues team is the best he’s ever played on. They’re relatively balanced with three lines who can play against the top line and a fourth line who finds a way to get things done. Defensively the Blues matchup against pretty much any club out there.
Even going back to his junior days playing with Medicine Hat in the WHL, Bouwmeester was shutout of the playoffs four straight seasons. Only his luck would have the Tigers make the playoffs the year after he left with the team advancing all the way to the Memorial cup the following year. Again he joined a rebuilding organization as he was one of nine 16 year-old players on the roster his first season.
Still Bouwmeester never let it shake him. At least on the outside you would never know it. He’s about as reserved as they come and does a solid job of hiding his emotions. With that said you know deep inside it feels good and there has to be some considerable weight lifted off of his shoulders.
He does have a decent amount of international experience when you factor in World Junior Championships, World Championships, World Cup, and the 2006 Olympics all representing Canada. He did make the AHL playoffs during the 2004-2005 lockout playing with the Chicago Wolves.
Bouwmeester says he would watch the playoffs pretty much every year knowing the opportunity would eventually come. He still holds the active streak for consecutive games played as you have to go all the way back to his second season in 2003 when he last suffered an injury. That season a broken foot forced him to sit out two months.
At the very least Bouwmeester is an example for players out there who maybe take the playoffs for granted. There are no guarantees in the NHL and you never know when your final shot at a Stanley Cup might come.
I asked him how nervous he’ll be entering his first playoff game and in his typical stoic fashion he shrugged “I’ll have no more butterflies than anyone else.”
Do you believe him?
More to come,
The Latest Truth
Post about tonight's Isles-Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Berglund Says He's Full of Confidence
Post about tonight's Blues-Kings game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Blues Look to Rebound in LA
Post about this afternoon's Blues-Sharks game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Blues-Avs game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Wild/Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more