This is the next in a series of stories ranking the 24 most important players on the 2011-12 St. Louis Blues.
No. 12 Barret Jackman
I support a fan's right to boo. You bought the ticket, you paid for the parking, you ponied up for a Game Time paper (really, you should) and a frosty cold one. After making that kind of an investment to attend a game, you deserve to see players giving their all. If you don't think the effort is there, boo their asses off.
Barret Jackman has never deserved to be booed in St. Louis. Period. I don't care if he made some turnovers with the puck, looked lost on the power play when the team was decimated by injuries or was a step slower thanks to injuries he was playing through and not complaining about to the media. He's a standup guy who doesn't take shit from anybody. Yet he's the odds on favorite to be the fans' whipping boy this season after the trade deadline departure of Eric Brewer last season. That sucks.
He embodies the character traits of many of the fan favorites that have gone before him. He wears No. 5 as an homage to Bob Plager, Rob Ramage and Garth Butcher - tough as nails defensemen who made sure the opposition paid a price every night. Bob Gassoff was fearless during his brief career and would drop the gloves with anyone in the league. Jackman broke his fucking face in a fight early in his NHL career. Even with a bum jaw, he still fights at least a couple times a year when guys deserve it. He's a steady voice and has a mean-ass glare on the ice like Old Sudsy, Brian Sutter.
Granted, the guy struggled after the lockout with the new rules enforcements. He's adapted, overcome. And he's had to pick his spots more carefully after shoulder injuries going after the much bigger Todd Bertuzzi in his pre attempted murder days in Vancouver. They should never again put him on the power play. All true. But he does so much more for this team and this franchise.
We don't get sappy around here, but he's active in the community with charities including animal rescue groups. He married a St. Louis girl (from The Hill even) and spends a majority of his time here. Keith Tkachuk will be liked for decades because he's become a St. Louisan. Jackman has too. He likes it here for the same reasons we like it here. That's got to be worth something.
The Blues drafted Jackman in 1999. He joined the team full time in 2002. I always thought fans had a soft spot for guys drafted and developed inside the organization. This team needs his toughness and defensive play. Hopefully with some team success the fans can find their appreciation for Barret Jackman.