There is a modicum of respect you have to pay a veteran, no matter what kind of shit-heep he’s turned into. So when a player like Jay Bouwmeester ends up a healthy scratch, as he’s done a couple times this season, the coach and his teammates have to read from the script from the box marked, “Veteran Scratched Act Sad.” And you hear about how it’s such a shame and we really wish it didn’t have to be like this but he’ll work harder and come out of it better.
Except he won’t. Jabe O’Meester is 35. This is what he is, and what this is sucks. It’s sucked for years. He’s had multiple surgeries and the odometer is about to burst. He makes the Blues worse when he’s out there.
And yet the idea of sunk cost isn’t something that’s come to the NHL. You see it Edmonton with Milan Lucic. Or Calgary with Mike Smith. Hell, you could throw Brent Seabrook on this list, except the Hawks don’t have better options. This list could go on for a while.
The Blues probably have six better d-men than Bouwmeester. Kids like Vince Dunn and Jordan Schmaltz need to play if for no other reason so the Blues can see what they have. Carl Gunnarsson is at least more stable than J-Bow, and has been a better partner for Alex OrangeJello anyway.
The Blues have spent that money on Bouwmeester. It’s gone. They’re not getting it back. So why keep trying to justify it by crowbarring him into the lineup every night? Your fans know he blows. His teammates, though they’ll never say it, know it as well.
Is it the most glorious end to a fine career? No, it isn’t. But not everyone gets that, and certainly no one is owed that. It’s not like Bouwmeester is a Blues legend or anything. Getting paid $5M to watch hockey isn’t the worst job in the world. The Blues still have hopes to make something of this season. Which means putting their best players out there. That’s not Bouwmeester. Time they admit that, no matter what his bank balance is.
Hockey is defined on the margins. A couple of Bouwmeester shifts could honestly be the difference. Might it have been last year when the Blues missed out on a playoff spot by a point? You’d think they’d learn, but we know how St. Louis and learning go together.
Game #19 Preview Suite