Jackman Glad to Stay Put
With negotiations behind him, 27-year-old can concentrate on hockey
Tuesday, 03.25.2008 / 3:03 PM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues
|Jackman admits he lost sleep over whether or not he'd still play for the Blues after the trade deadline (Getty Images).|
The 26-year-old defenseman didn’t have a contract beyond this season with the Blues, the only team he had known since being drafted with St. Louis’ first choice (17th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. With his 27th birthday less than two weeks away, he suspected he might be celebrating it alone in another NHL city.
“You think about it constantly. You can never get used to it,” Jackman said about the anxiety of not knowing which town he’d be living in next. “One minute, you’re living your dream of playing for the first team that drafted you, and then you could be moved the next minute. It’s stressful and it’s part of the business, but it’s something I’m not comfortable with.”
So there he was, still on his couch, hoping a deal could be reached so he wouldn’t have to move his life elsewhere.
Then the phone calls rolled in. First his agent, then Blues President John Davidson and General Manager Larry Pleau. The sides were was able to come to terms on a new four-year extension with the Blues.
Now he could get comfortable on the couch again, right there in Olivette.
Oh, and that birthday? He celebrated with family and friends.
The negotiations lasted more than a month, beginning as a general discussion of where the team was headed, where players fit in and where Jackman’s piece of the puzzle fit. After feeling comfortable with his role in the Blues’ future plans, the negotiations intensified in the last 7-10 days leading up to the deadline.
“For fans, it’s a little bit easier in the sense that they get excited about what guys come, what guys are leaving,” Blues forward Jamal Mayers said about the trade deadline. “But the reality is, we have family, friends and lives and it becomes a bit more complicated.”
Jackman will be the first to admit that the thought of testing the free agent market to cash in on a big payday was tempting, but his heart was in St. Louis. Jackman says the thought of leaving left him tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep at night.
“St. Louis is a great city with great fans. I’ve got a lot of friends here. This is obviously first choice,” he said.
“You always kind of sit there and look back at where you started. This is where I’ve been since day one,” Jackman said. “You kind of think about what it would be like playing somewhere else and you think about all the memories you’ve had (here). You try to block it out, you try to say it doesn’t affect you, but obviously it does. It’s good to get it over with.”