posted on February 01, 2013 00:00
Barret Jackman has seen the best of times with the St. Louis Blues and he’s seen the worst of times with the St. Louis Blues. He has unfairly borne the brunt of abuse from many an uneducated Blues fan, whom believes that goals, assists, points, and the meaningless category of plus/minus makes or breaks a player.
There was a vocal minority who voiced their displeasure when the team announced they had re-signed Jackman to a three-year, $9.5 million deal last June. The critics wanted a more “sexier” name defenseman instead of a guy who for the past ten years has been a symbol of what St. Louis Blues hockey is all about.
A former first round draft pick and a Calder Trophy winner, Jackman does all the little things that help the team win. He blocks shots, he plays top minutes against the opposition’s top lines, he stands up for his teammates when the situation calls for it, and he leads by example.
When Jackman broke into the NHL in 2002, he must have felt like he was on a magic carpet ride. He had Hall of Famer Al MacInnis and former Hart Trophy winner Chris Pronger giving him on the job training. A few short years later, the magic carpet was yanked out from under Jackman as a lockout killed the entire 2004-05 season. In the process, the Blues were gutted like a fish by then owner Bill Laurie. MacInnis retired due to an eye injury and Pronger was shipped away to Edmonton. That left Jackman and Bryce Salvador as the sole veterans of the defensive corps.
After many trying years and much hard work through the front office, the Blues are back to prominence once again and Jackman has played a key part in the team's success.
There was a time where I believed that Jackman was going to be the next captain of the Blues. It’s been said time and time again, you don’t need a “C” on your sweater to be deemed the leader of your respective team.
Last night in Columbus was a prime example.
Over two minutes into the game, Jackman snuck over the blueline after taking a pass from Ryan Reaves and flicked a shot that found its way over the left shoulder of Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the first goal of the game and his second goal in as many games.Later in the game, Jackman had a fight with Jackets forward Nick Foligno which sent a message to the young Blue Jackets that the Blues veteran was ready to answer the bell.
Jackman has played 605 career NHL games and they are all with the Blues. I believe he may have been a Plager in a previous lifetime. He’s not going to do anything flashy, but he works hard game in and game out. He’s been the subject of trade rumors many times throughout his Blues tenure but never once has he whined or complained. He’s gone through four ownership changes and five different coaches.
General Manager Doug Armstrong summed it up perfectly last May when he told Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch what Jackman brings to the table.
"He's gained his respect through his play, his work ethic and his character," Armstrong said. "To think that's not important to our organization would be a mistake. There is a level of importance. I respect what he does in the locker room, what he does when no one else is watching — like a Dallas Drake, like a Scott Mellanby — things that the fans don't see that are important to a winning franchise.”
As the “godfather” of the Blues first round draft picks, nothing would please me more than to see number 5 hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head with the Bluenote emblazoned on his chest. If that ever happens, my ideal scenario would be akin to the Joe Sakic-Ray Bourque scene that took place after the Avalanche won the Cup in 2001. It would be the ultimate reward to a man who has given his heart and soul to this franchise.