Thursday, September 17, 2015

Q & A with Jay Bouwmeester

Blues defenseman healthy again after groin 
injury hampered him for much of last season

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Jay Bouwmeester saw his ironman streak come to an end at 737 regular season games last season following a groin injury Nov. 22 at Ottawa last season.

The Blues' defenseman never seemed to be himself again following the injury.

Bouwmeester has since returned to St. Louis and began his informal workouts with Blues teammates ahead of the opening of training camp and said he feels good again. He also touches on what went wrong with the Blues last season, among other topics:
Jay Bouwmeester

Do you have to think about what happened last season and learn from the experience or move on, turn the page?
You have to learn from it. I think you have to think about it. That's what we do. You can't just totally turn the page at the end of the year. It's one of those things where you try to sort out what you can get better at coming into next year and you need to prepare to make those things happen. At the same time, you do have to turn the page and you have to keep it exciting. If you're not excited or having fun, you're not going to keep doing it. It's a new year; it doesn't matter now what happened last year; it doesn't matter what happened two years ago. You start from scratch. You take all those lessons you learned and you incorporate it into everything you're doing now. You're going to play 82 games and hopefully you're in the playoffs.

Where are you at health-wise? Do you feel like you're back to feeling like yourself pre-injury?
I feel good. I've had a good summer training and doing all that. I've been skating a lot. Yeah, I don't have any worries or concerns. ... I think at the end of the year, it would just take some time. I had a lot of things going on at the end of the year last year. It was good to just kind of remove yourself and just kind of turn your mind off of hockey for a little bit. That refreshes you. As time goes on, you start getting excited and you know you're coming back here. Once you get back here, it's sort of back to business. Everything went well this summer. I'm in the same mode as everyone else; happy to be back.

How different is it going to be without some players that have been staples in this locker room (Barret Jackman, T.J. Oshie)?
Different for sure. I haven't been here for as long as some other guys that have been here with them, but those are two of the main guys. There is always change no matter where you are. There's always guys, whether it be significant guys like that ... we didn't have a lot of change but I think the two guys are guys that people are familiar with. It's all sort of the business. You get used to it. You play long enough where good friends move on, you move on and there's always fresh faces, I guess. That's the way it goes.

Did you expect more change after last year or was a tweak or two enough?
If you look back, we had a good year and then didn't do as well as we wanted in the playoffs. So yeah, for sure, we have to sit back and look at what went wrong and what you need to do to improve and all that individually as a team. I don't think you're at a point where you start tearing it apart and start from scratch because there's a pretty good foundation here. It's harder than ever to advance, to make the playoffs number one, and when you get there, it's more a situation ever now, I think, is as long as you get in, you've got a chance. Just as good a chance as anyone else. For us, hopefully we can take those experiences we've had and when the time comes and we get there ... it's a long season, hopefully put it into place.

How different will the defense be without two veterans and relying more on younger guys like Petteri Lindbohm and Robert Bortuzzo?
It'll be different. It's a couple younger guys I guess, but I think it's good. Nowadays, you look around and it's more than ever a young man's league. Both of those guys came in last year and showed they can play. They've got to be excited of course. It's good when you have fresh blood. That excitement kind of wears off on guys.

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