The St. Louis Blues have done just about everything they can for their injured defenseman. Now, they hope to honor him with the leaue.
While the NHL is progressing toward resuming play on the 2019-20 season, the league still has things to take care of, namely their awards. With that in mind, the St. Louis Blues chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association put forth their nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Award.
There was little doubt, but the Blues nominated Jay Bouwmeester for that award. Of course, fans and players alike would rather have Bouwmeester on the ice than nominated for this award, but his story is definitely one that would merit consideration for this award.
Over the years, the Masterton Award got simplified into a comeback player award. That is not always the case, which is why Bouwmeester could win it even without playing another second in the league.
What the award actually showcases is players who have overcome or battled career-threatening injuries or life-threatening illnesses. Officially the award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.
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Bouwmeester had a cardiac episode February 11 against the Anaheim Ducks. Similarly, another candidate, Shea Theodore of the Vegas Golden Knights overcame testicular cancer. Many on social media believe he is the leading candidate to win the award.
The interesting thing about Bouwmeester’s chances are not so much whether he could win the award this year, but ever. The rangy defender has not ruled out the possibility of ever playing again yet.
“I’m at a point right now where I feel pretty good,” Bouwmeester told the media, as reported on the team website. “… It’s a scary thing but everything’s going pretty good lately and we’ll continue to evaluate things as they go.”
Of course, that is not a definitive statement one way or the other. However, it does indicate that Bouwmeester has not fully considered retirement.
He has stated in the past that he feels he has accomplished everything possible in his career. However, no thought has been given to hanging up the skates yet.
For now, Bouwmeester is taking things slowly and going to root on his team when they resume play. Given his health and the current pandemic, it remains to be seen whether he will be in attendance or have to watch on television like the rest of us.