On Thursday, a new streak begins for Jay Bouwmeester.
Bouwmeester, who’s missed the last eight games with a groin ailment, will play for the first time since Nov. 22 when the Blues take on the Isles tonight in St. Louis.
Getting back is a big deal for the 31-year-old rearguard, who had his iron man streak snapped with his groin injury. Prior to getting hurt, Bouwmeester had played in 737 consecutive contests — at the time, it was the longest active streak among major professional sports, and the fifth-longest in NHL history.
In other Blues news, Thomas Steen will return to the lineup tonight after missing the last two games with an injury. Captain David Backes will play with a full shield after taking a puck to the face on Monday, and Carl Gunnarsson has been placed on IR with a concussion, stemming from the hit he took from New York’s Anders Lee.
Calling him “The Cal Ripken Jr. of Hockey” is a stretch, but Jay Bouwmeester’s run of 737 consecutive games played remains impressive. It also might end on Sunday.
The speedy blueliner suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday, and signs point to him missing the St. Louis Blues’ game against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. If that happens, it will end the longest active “Ironman” streak in professional sports, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 31-year-old told the Post-Dispatch that he doesn’t want to play merely to keep the streak alive.
“I think if you’re ever at a point where you can’t play and you’re going to be a detriment out there, then you’re not going to play,” Bouwmeester said to the Post-Dispatch on Friday, the day before the injury.
“I’ve never really kept track what that streak is at … the number or anything like that. You don’t think about it. You just approach it like you want to play. Most guys, if they’re able to play, they’re going to play. But you’re not going to do anything that’s going to take away from the whole team thing.”
Perhaps Bouwmeester would actually be better off taking a breather?
The $5.4 million defenseman only has two points in 20 games so far in 2014-15, and his possession stats have sagged noticeably as well. His struggles haven’t derailed the Blues by any means, but considering the team’s ambitions to make a deep playoff run, wouldn’t it be best for Bouwmeester to get his game back together sooner rather than later?
The Post-Dispatch points out that Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano has the second-longest games played streak in the NHL, as he hasn’t missed a contest in 561 games.
The St. Louis Blues ended a brief two-game losing skid with a win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, but the two points may come with a price.
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester didn’t play a shift for the final six minutes of the third period, but the Blues managed to hang on for a 3-2 victory. Alexander Steen scored the winner, and Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 12th of the season for St. Louis.
“I think he stepped on a crack on the ice. So he’s got a lower-body ailment. We’ll see how he is in the morning,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, as per Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.