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Trade bittersweet, but Bouwmeester feeling Blues

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY -- Asked to describe his time as a member of the Calgary Flames, the often soft-spoken Jay Bouwmeester characterized his tenure rather quickly.


The latest asset sold off by Flames general manager Jay Feaster, Bouwmeester was shipped to the St. Louis Blues on Monday in exchange for a conditional first-round pick and prospects Mark Cundari and Reto Berra.

"Whenever you're standing here doing this, it's probably because things didn't quite go how you would've planned," Bouwmeester said. "I can look back and when I first came, it was a similar situation. There was a lot of optimism. I was super excited to be here and everything looked great going forward.

"Things change. It could've been a lot better. Having said that, there's ups and downs everywhere. I enjoyed playing here. It's a great place to play. I enjoyed all the people in my personal life. Through that time, I've gotten married and started a family. … It's a bittersweet sort of thing."

Signed as a free agent in the summer of 2009, Bouwmeester spent parts of four seasons in Calgary before being approached by Feaster as a possible trade candidate. With the Flames slumping into 14th in the Western Conference, the sell-off began.

First, it was Jarome Iginla's departure to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bouwmeeseter's trade to St. Louis marks Feaster's second move.

"I say it all along, that when there's rumors flying around that you really can't believe it until someone approaches you," the 29-year-old defenseman said. "That's the way I think I approached it. I knew that there was potential, but until someone actually picks up the phone, you're not really sure. You have to play games. That's your job here. Everyone's paid pretty well to be professional about things and do your best wherever you are."

Bouwmeester now joins a Blues club battling for their playoff lives. Eighth in the Western Conference, St. Louis started Tuesday holding a one-point edge over both the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Their newest addition likes their chances.

"Any time you're going into something new or a fresh start, it is exciting," Bouwmeester said. "They have a good, young team, but they're not out of the clear. I know when you go there you've got some work to do. I've talked to a couple people from their team last night. Everyone's happy and all that, but it doesn't change much. You've got a job to do. You get right at it."

A veteran of 750 games, Bouwmeester currently owns the NHL's all-time mark for most regular season appearances without a single playoff outing. He's hoping St. Louis can end that.

"I was looking to move somewhere," said Bouwmeester, whose five-year, $33.4 million contract expires at the end of next season. "I didn't just want to go somewhere for a couple of months and that be it. It looks like a good spot and hopefully a good fit."

Because of some tactful negotiations between Feaster and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, another Bouwmeester streak lives on.

Bouwmeester's consecutive games played streak of 621 games remains intact. He was dealt after the start of St. Louis' game against the Minnesota Wild but before Calgary's Battle of Alberta bout against the Edmonton Oilers.

The reigning ironman was appreciative of the work from both parties to ensure the streak stayed active.

"It was a classy thing," Bouwmeester said. "They didn't have to do that. They kind of probably jumped through some hoops to make it happen. It's something I've said all along. It's kind of a lucky streak and it's something that just sort of happened. For them to do that, it was a nice gesture."

A nod from both teams of what Bouwmeester represented for the Flames and will represent for the Blues moving forward.

Author: Aaron Vickers | Correspondent

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