Bouwmeester continues quest with Blues
St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester approaches the beginning of every season the same. A fresh start. The disappointments of the previous season forgotten. The focus is forward, on building toward the next game.
Along the way, the time begins to accumulate and sometimes that steady progress results in an impressive milestone. Like when he set the NHL record in 2011 for most consecutive games played by a defenseman, his 496th, breaking the mark held by Karlis Skrastins.
Sometimes the milestones aren't so impressive, like when he passed Guy Charron as the player with the most regular-season games played without a playoff appearance.
The streak has everything to do with the awful teams he's played for in Florida and Calgary, but people still want to pin it on him. As if the dysfunction of two franchises that cycled through coaches and general managers while he quietly did his job on the blue line was somehow all his fault.
"It's been kind of this cloud following [me] around for a while," Bouwmeester said when we chatted earlier this week. "It just so happens at the end of the year, I've been on the outside looking in."
With a no-trade clause on his contract with Calgary, Bouwmeester, 29, could have blocked any move and kept chugging away with the Flames, but this is a guy eager to win, a guy relishing the chance to get in the playoffs.
"Very much," he said in his typical understated fashion.
He didn't limit general manager Jay Feaster's options when he was approached about a deal. Instead of a short list of destinations that would have made a trade difficult, Bouwmeester's list was a group of teams to which he absolutely didn't want to be traded, and the sides worked from there.
He praised the way Calgary approached a delicate situation.
"I thought they handled it great," Bouwmeester said. "They had some options. I think that was kind of important, too, they have to be able to make a deal."
And now with the Blues come the playoff push and reputation repair.
To see how Jay Bouwmeester is settling in to his new surroundings in St. Louis, you must be an ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.