Jay Bouwmeester will be skating in the NHL playoffs for the first time in his career when the Blues take on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 2013 NHL Playoffs. When he appears in Game 1 on Tuesday, Bouwmeester will officially end his playoff drought which has lasted an unbelievable 764 regular season games.
The 29-year-old defenseman spent the bulk of his time with the Florida Panthers and the Calgary Flames, failing to ever compete in the playoffs since arriving in the NHL during the 2002-03 season.
Upon being traded from Calgary to St. Louis, Bouwmeester said that the trade was "bittersweet". We have to imagine that while it's sad to leave the place he called home since 2009, the opportunity to compete for the game's big trophy for the first time has to be pretty appealing.
Barring an unexpected injury to Bouwmeester between now and 7:00pm Central on Tuesday night, he will no longer own the unflattering title as the skater with the longest playoff drought in the NHL. The streak is ending at the perfect time as Bouwmeester was quickly approaching the NHL record for most games without a playoff appearance held by Olli Jokinen with 799 games.
The big question is, how will Bouwmeester's first taste of the playoffs pan out? He'll have an extremely difficult task of handling the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, facing immense pressure to reverse St. Louis' fortunes after being swept by the Kings during the 2012 playoffs.