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'Iron Bo' at 495 and counting

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames

Four hundred and ninety-five.

Some NHLers never see that many games, let alone that many consecutive games. We hope we aren't jinxing anything by writing about this, but Jay Bouwmeester, the Calgary Flames defenceman who logs mega-minutes most nights, played in his 495th consecutive game against Vancouver Saturday, tying the NHL record for consecutive games by a defenceman.

Jay Bouwmeester Interview 12.03.11

That ties veteran Karlis Strastins, now with the Dallas Stars, but a former teammate of Bouwmeester's in Florida for two seasons.

"It's neat because I played with him a little," said the shy, soft-spoken, out-of-the-limelight Bouwmeester.

In fact, it wasn't until earlier this week in Dallas that Bouwmeester learned he was close to tying the record when it was pointed out by a member of the media. It's simply not something he has been thinking about.

"It's one of those things that you don't want to think about because, what does it matter? You just want to go out and play every night," Bouwmeester told Rob Kerr from The Fan 960.

And the secret to his durability -- he remains the league's current ironman leader, having started this longevity streak back on March 6, 2004 -- is a number of things.

"Luck, probably," smiled Bouwmeester. "I haven't had any major injuries at any given time. The only time I've missed is I broke my foot a bunch of years back. Otherwise, you try and take care of yourself. I've played long enough now that I know what to do throughout the year. It's probably a combination of things."

That broken foot thing, though, is a good point. Defencemen tend to take shots off ankles or the front of their foot. Sometimes they break bones blocking shots. Sometimes there are sprains that prevent tham from putting their skates on. Either way, they tend to miss games.

Ask Cory Sarich, once an NHL ironman type. "Hey, pucks hit you in the foot. I remember playing with a broken toe for a while and every time I bumped it, I wanted to cry," said Sarich.

Bouwmeester can set an NHL record Tuesday when the Flames host the Phoenix Coyotes.

Although he may not be thinking about it, it is still an accomplishment worth noting.
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