At the age of 29, and with 10 seasons of National Hockey League experience, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is finally playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It seems the wait was worth it.
The Blues are up two-games-to-none in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final against the L.A. Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and Bouwmeester has quietly had a positive effect to the St. Louis defensive corps.
No points in the first two games for Bouwmeester, who the Blues acquired in a deal with the Calgary Flames two days before the trade deadline, but he does have a plus-one rating in a series that has produced a total of six goals.
It’s certainly different hockey in the playoffs compared to what he’s experienced in already 764 regular season games.
“Everything gets ramped up, the energy and the physical play,” Bouwmeester told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“You’re playing the same team over and over again and you get those little confrontations that go from game to game. But I think the way our games are pretty similar…you don’t want to run out of position to make big hits.
“You don’t want to change too much because it’s this time of year. You have to stick with what gets you there. You know teams are coming for you — that doesn’t change — but I think our focus is to move the puck and get it to our forwards because that’s where we want to be playing.”
The Blues have a chance to take a 3-0 series lead on the Kings with a win tonight in L.A.