St. Louis Blues Whipping Boy Barret Jackman To Retire


Barret Jackman was once a prized piece of a tough St. Louis Blues defense. It didn’t quite end that way when he left.

Barret Jackman had quite the roller coaster career. He will officially end it on October 4 and will do so as a St. Louis Blue.

There has been no word of any ceremonial contracts or special circumstances. He will have his press conference at the Scottrade Center though, which is fitting since it was home for 13 of his 14 NHL seasons.

Jackman became the perennial whipping boy of fans looking for a scapegoat toward the end of his time in St. Louis. I won’t hide the fact even I wanted him gone by the end.

It’s just how things were. However, as we take in the entirety of his career, we should not forget there were good times as well.

Jackman just missed playing on the team that went to the conference finals and who knows, maybe they could have used a player like him then. It seems a stretch that he would have made the difference against eventual champion, Colorado, but perhaps he could have helped hold down their offense.

Regardless of hypotheticals, Jackman came in and took the Blues and the league by storm. He was a hard-nosed, tough defender and got the job done.

He got the job done so much that he won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season of 2002-03. He really did look like he could be one of the better defenders for years to come.

Unfortunately, he would never reach those heights. He only played 15 games the following season and then the lockout hit.

The NHL lockout may have had the biggest impact on Jackman’s career. Following the work stoppage, there were pretty massive rule changes. None of those changes were to the benefit of old-school defenders.

Jackman was just that. He was a shove your stick in the guy’s midsection, toss around the opponent and slam them in the corner kind of player.

Just about everything he had grown up learning how to play became outlawed overnight. This isn’t an excuse, since there were other players who had to deal with the transition as well.

Still, even Hall of Fame players like Chris Pronger became a bit exposed and spent a lot of time in the penalty box when the rule changes came about. Personally, I will always contend that if the NHL never changed its style, Jackman would have been fine.

As the game sped up, he would have struggled a little bit. Skating was never his forte. Even so, he had the skills to play in the league and was simply handcuffed when the league opened things up for the offense.

All that said, Jackman still turned out to be a pretty reliable player. Jackman was only a minus player three times in a full season for his entire career.

He was never a scorer, but he still chipped in. Jackman averaged 15 points per season with the Blues and 85% of those points were assists.

Even though it was never his game, he did come up with some pretty good offensive moments for the Blues.

Hmm, viewing those videos now, perhaps Jackman was a jinx. Both times he scored, put the Blues up 2-0 in those series only to lose. Ah well.

Then there was this beauty.

I was at that game. I almost felt sorry for the Winnipeg fans in front of us since I still have no clue how that went in. Almost is the key word though.

In seriousness, Jackman was one of those players that gave everything for the team. One can argue he wasn’t skilled enough or good enough in certain aspects. He played hard and tried to have fun as well.

Fans can have whatever opinion of him they wish. That’s the prerogative of being a fan.

St. Louis has some really good ones though, even if they remain a bit more quite than the others. Jackman should and will get the recognition he deserves.

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Given the ups and downs of his career, it is almost cruelly fitting the Blues went to the conference finals the season prior to and after his time here.

Still, nobody can argue his heart and how much he cared about the city. That’s why it makes so much sense for him to announce his retirement in St. Louis.

Any time a player retires, it bring up differing emotions. How will you remember the man known as Jax?