The St. Louis Blues fans have a nasty habit of picking out one or two players on each team to hate one. Sometimes it makes sense, but in the case of one particular defender it does not.
The St. Louis Blues know they have one of the league’s better defensemen in Jay Bouwmeester. For some odd reason, a vocal section of the fan base cannot stand the man. It is a little puzzling why.
The most famous of these types of players that fans pick on has been Barret Jackman. Personally, I did not get on board with the hate toward him until late, but at least it was understandable where that came from.
Jackman won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year in his first full season, so expectations were through the roof. He then had an injury derail his second season. After that, the league had a lockout and he was never quite the same player.
Jackman could never adjust his game to the new rules the league implemented. So, going from expectations of being a Norris candidate to one who struggled with penalties, defensive position and trying to become an offensive player when that was not his game gave him plenty of reason to be disliked at times.
Bouwmeester does not really have any of those attributes. If fans based their expectations on the offensive numbers he put up in Florida, then that’s their own baggage they’re bringing to this trip.
Bouwmeester has never been that stylish offensive defenseman since Florida. He put up better assist numbers with Calgary than he has in St. Louis. His goal totals have been relatively similar however.
Defensively, Bouwmeester has improved as a member of the Blues. Some of it had to do with the quality of his team, but Bouwmeester was regularly a minus-player in Florida and Calgary. He’s only been on the wrong side of the plus/minus stat once in his Blues career.
So, where does the hate come from? It seems like fans poke at just about every area of his game, but it still is not clear why.
If you want to push the offense button, fair enough. Bouwmeester is no longer what you would consider an offensive defenseman. He’s far from Kevin Shattenkirk, but he’s a far better defender.
Bouwmeester blocks more shots than Shattenkirk did and had far better defensive point shares. If we are basing the dislike on pure goal numbers then there are lots of Blues to dislike beyond Bouwmeester.
Some fans say he’s not good at defending. That’s quite a vague statement since it’s difficult to tell what specifically makes a good defender.
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Erik Karlsson is widely regarded as the league’s best defenseman right now. Bouwmeester has similar defensive point shares to Karlsson.
Bouwmeester’s hit numbers are similar to Karlsson, if only slightly lower.
Bouwmeester also takes better care of the puck. Karlsson has averaged 104 giveaways the last four seasons. Bouwmeester has averaged just below 27.
So, what is it that Bouwmeester does or does not do that garners so much negative attention? It seems like it’s more on the individual judging him than the player himself.
No, he’s not a physical specimen. He’s not going to take your head off with a slap shot like Al MacInnis or knock you into tomorrow like Scott Stevens.
Though tall, he’s not physically imposing. Not all that stuff makes a good player.
He gets pulled out of position now and then, but often it’s because he’s making up for someone else’s mistake. He’s lost a step with age, but he is still one of the faster defenders around once he gets going.
Bouwmeester takes care of the puck and his positioning is often sound. So, I just do not get what the deal is.
How can a fan base dislike a player so much, yet people in the know have a different opinion. He’s been selected for Team Canada for two Olympics, two World Cups and four World Championships. To be selected as one of Canada’s best when they have some of the best in the world is saying something.
Despite that, you get guys that say they’ll trade him for a bag of pucks…
It just makes no sense. No, he’s not flashy, but he gets the job done in what is actually expected of him. I got the hate for Jackman. Even though I’m still a fan of Jake Allen, I can comprehend what fans have against him. The Bouemeester hate is puzzling at best.