St. Louis Blues: Cam Janssen Retires, Sets Sights On Next Career

Former St. Louis Blues tough guy, Cam Janssen abruptly announced his retirement from professional hockey. However, as good as he was throwing fists, he may be better at the next phase of his life.

Cam Janssen was always a fan favorite during his playing days with the St. Louis Blues. He should have been since he hailed from Eureka, Missouri, which was just a stone throw from downtown on I-44.

Janssen grew up in the area, played junior hockey in the area with the St. Louis Sting and would eventually play for his home-town team. His career began when he was drafted into the OHL where he spent time in Windsor and Guelph.

He was then picked up by the New Jersey Devils and saw NHL action fairly quickly. He fit in very well with the Devils’ style of play and led the team in fighting majors, with 11, in his rookie season.

Janssen was traded to the Blues in February of 2008 as the team was trying to retool their roster for a playoff push and they felt the local boy would add some toughness. Despite the fact he was a bit undersized for the game in those days, standing at 6’0, he was a bull and backed down from no man.

Maybe guys had a reach advantage on him, but nobody could match Janssen for toughness. He would go at it with anyone, sometimes whether the opponent wanted it or not.

As much as he could have, and perhaps should have been utilized a little more by the Blues, Janssen was not valued as highly in the coach’s office as he was with the fans. In the end, his lack of skill shortened his career in North America.

The game has been steadily changing for the better part of a decade now and Janssen had enough skill to last, but not enough to be utitlized by many teams for a full 82 games. He ended his NHL playing days with only six goals and 14 points, which isn’t nearly enough these days, even for a fourth-line enforcer.

Janssen played a season over in England with the Nottinham Panthers. In the end, the Panthers were a bit shocked by his decision to hang up the skates as he had become a respected player on their team and had a decent contribution to their efforts in winning two trophies last season.

However, the lure of the States and a new job had him more than willing to come back. What that job exactly will be is unknown, but we do know it’s going to be in media. There are several options, depending on what he wants to do and what the various media members want from him.

Most people are assuming he’s coming back to take a position with the St. Louis Blues alone. There are a couple options here. Assuming Kelly Chase has no intentions to cut back his appearances or games broadcast, Janssen could still be a studio analyst between periods or even a second color commentator up in the booth with Chase still between the benches. How well a three man team would work on radio is debatable, but it’s plausible.

A more likely scenario would be for him to join the television team. Jamie Rivers did a decent job as did some of the other various Blues alumni, but Janssen could really fit the bill for a more full-time role.

Bernie Federko had to extend his deal with Fox Sports to cover all the playoff games the Blues had. He said himself that he wanted to enjoy the games instead of sitting in the studio, so perhaps he is ready to step aside. If so, Janssen’s personality seems tailor made for studio analysis.

Yet another spot he could land that nobody seems to be considering is with 101 ESPN. D’Marco Farr just left the station for opportunity and family reasons in California. Janssen would be a pretty good fit with The Fast Lane afternoon drive show. He would also bring some credibility to the hockey discussion, which outside of Randy Karraker, is sorely lacking throughout the station in terms of in-studio hosts.

The Panthers’ coach pretty much spilled the beans that the job is with the St. Louis Blues, but not everyone knows in what capacity when a player is leaving. It would not be shockin if Janssen takes a television role and also fills Farr’s spot on the FM side of the radio dial.  It would be similar to what Brad Thompson does with the Cardinals.

As is starting to become my catch phrase, time will tell. However, Janssen’s personality mixed with being a former player and home-town guy seems to make him a great fit for the media. He doesn’t strike me as someone who will be afraid to say what’s on his mind, whether it’s popular or not. After all, he was pretty fearless during his playing days.