By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
|Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jay Bouwmeester is going back to the All-Star Game.
The National Hockey League (NHL) announced today the Panthers’ defenseman has been selected to play for the Eastern Conference at the 2009 NHL All Star Game, to be played Sunday Jan. 25 in Montreal, Canada.
Bouwmeester was presented with his Eastern Conference All-Star jersey after Thursday’s morning skate at BankAtlantic Center, where the Panthers tonight play host to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Bouwmeester, 25, selected to his second NHL All-Star Game, is among the league’s premier defensemen. He’s the Panthers’ third-leading scorer with 21 points (six goals) and ranks third in the league in average on-ice time (27:38).
“It’s an honor, things like that are always nice, and being in Montreal will be pretty neat, too,” Bouwmeester said. “The last time was pretty neat. You get to meet some guys you watched growing up as a kid, so that’s kind of special. So it should be fun.”
Bouwmeester, who has played in all 40 Panther games this season, has played in 304 consecutive games. Between Nov. 12 and Dec. 15, Bouwmeester had 15 points (six goals) in 16 games. He went into Thursday’s game against Southeast Division-rival Carolina on a two-game point scoring streak.
“He’s been our MVP to date,” said Panthers’ head coach Peter DeBoer. “He’s done it all for us. He hasn’t missed a game, plays against everyone’s top players, logs more ice than anyone in the league, and on and on.”
Bouwmeester, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, was drafted in the first round (third overall) by the Panthers at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He scored a career-high 15 goals last season, was named to his first NHL All-Star Game, and was named ADT Florida Defensive Player of the Year. He had a career-high 30 assists in 2006-07.