Camp notebook: Bouwmeester has moved on from his time as a Calgary Flame
Smooth-skating defenceman aiming for a 2014 Olympic spot and a big season with the St. Louis Blues
Jay Bouwmeester calls Canmore home in the summertime, but his attachment to the Rocky Mountains ends there.
The former Calgary Flames defenceman, who was traded to the St. Louis Blues at the 2013 National Hockey League trade deadline, turned the page in the springtime.
“It’s not my first time moving on,” Bouwmeester was saying Monday at the men’s Olympic team orientation camp being held at Hockey Canada headquarters in Calgary. “The experience in St. Louis was good, it was a good fit.
“It’s not fresh or new or anything.”
Bouwmeester arrived to a young but playoff hungry team and played 14 games scoring one goal and six assists before going on the first post-season run of his career. They eventually lost in six games to the fellow Olympic hopeful defenceman Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Still, the transition for Bouwmeester was made easier because of the roll the Blues were on.
“Things come together when you do that,” said the 29-year-old who turns 30 in December. “We had a tough series against L.A.
“But we’re at the stages where we’re still fairly young but everyone is kind of past that learning stage.”
He’s not the only one who thinks so considering the Hockey News picked St. Louis to win the Stanley Cup in 2014.
But, hey, coming from a guy who had to spend eight seasons in the NHL before he could officially grow a playoff beard, some things are just out of your control.
“I guess that’s better than being on the bottom,” said Bouwmeester, chuckling. “I think the Toronto Blue Jays were picked to win the World Series, weren’t they?
“I wouldn’t put a lot of faith into (the prediction).”
Bouwmeester’s breakout season in 2005-06 earned him a shot at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. A junior star for Team Canada who played in the 2000 tournament at only 16 years old, the smooth skating blueliner was an injury replacement for Scott Niedermayer at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.
He went to the 2010 Olympic camp which was held in Calgary during the summer of 2009 but was held off the roster when he struggled to start the season.
No question, the idea of playing on the 2014 Olympic team in Sochi sounds like a good idea.
But, again, those decisions are not up to him.
“You’d like to be there,” Bouwmeester said. “That’s the goal for everyone. I think you learn from that. From that, you learn it’s a process and you can’t worry about it.
“If you’re picked and get to go, great, but there are a lot of great players.”
THINKING OF JOE
Dan Boyle’s thoughts are with his San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton who is missing Hockey Canada’s Olympic men’s team orientation camp.
The St. Thomas, Ont., native opted to stay home as his two-month old baby was sick and in the hospital.
“Our wives are best friends,” said Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle on Monday. “He made the right decision, you got to stay home. Family is the most important thing.”
Sharks forward Logan Couture, also attending the Olympic team gathering, also expressed concern and are wishing him the best.
“Obviously we’re all hoping that his son is OK and it sounds like he’s getting better, which is good,” he said. “We miss not having Joe here. I’ll be headed to San Jose once this camp ends and we’ll get to catch up with him.”
The group is now down from 47 to 45 of Canada’s best NHL-ers with Claude Giroux, rehabbing from finger surgery, also missing.
RELIEF IN PHOENIX
Mike Smith was relieved to see the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes earlier this summer.
“It’s one less thing to think about,” said the 31-year-old goaltender, one of four Canadians who are in a bid to play at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. “We always talked about not letting it creep into our room and it seemed the last two camps I was at guys kept saying, ‘We can’t worry about what’s happening with ownership’ but this past year it started to weigh on us.
“It’s been four years — I was only there two — and you’re always being asked questions about it, so it’s hard not to let it creep into your mind.”
Also, another item that is finally off the table is Smith’s contract which was taken care of during this summer’s NHL free agency period.
With a six-year deal worth $5,666,667 per year, the Kingston, Ont., native will be in the desert through the 2018-19 NHL season.
Smith said signing free agents was also key in reinforcing stability, an element that hasn’t been there in recent years due to the ownership situation.
“Just being able to play knowing we’re going to be there, for the fans and the sponsors to know we’re going to be there, will be big,” he said. “It’s a great place to play and I’m glad we’re staying there. It’s a place I can call home for a few years and not have to worry about whether the team’s going to be there next year.”
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