Blues veteran Bouwmeester to be scratched for first time in career

St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester shoots the puck. (Tom Gannam/AP)

Veteran defender Jay Bouwmeester is set to be a healthy scratch when his St. Louis Blues take on the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday.

Elaborating on the surprising roster change, Blues head coach Mike Yeo told reporters that the move wasn’t an easy one to make, but the club’s recent performances necessitated a change.

“Obviously difficult decisions like this come when you’re not winning hockey games,” Yeo said Saturday. “Part of it is (Jordan) Schmaltz and (Vince) Dunn have been playing well for us. It’s a very, very difficult decision for me as a coach when you’ve got a player you respect like Bouw in what he has accomplished in his career.”

The Blues are trudging through a tough start to the season, having a posted only one win through their first six tilts — their 1-3-2 record ranks them last in the Western Conference thus far. Bouwmeester has one assist and a minus-4 rating through those six games.

“First time for me. I’m not going to talk a lot about it because nobody likes to be in that position,” Bouwmeester said Saturday, according to beat writer Jeremy Rutherford. “It’s the nature of the business. Every game there’s guys that get scratched, so you deal with it, that’s all you can do.”

Bouwmeester is suiting up for his sixth full season in St. Louis after coming over in 2012-13 from the Flames, playing the latter part of that year with the Blues. The 35-year-old rearguard has 1,112 NHL games under his belt in total, during which he’s amassed 399 points.

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