He’s known for his fighting and hitting; for his accumulation of penalty minutes and defending his team mates. However, with the news from the Blues Training Camp of Janssen being in the lead in the shootout drills, is #55 about to add a new string or two to his bow?
Janssen has always shown a passion for the game but playing for his hometown team appears to have not only lit a fire in him but also, under the tutelage of Andy Murray, he’s learning the right time to fight, the right time to hit and to cut down on the number of unnecessary penalties. He also wants to do more. He wants to bring more to his game than simply fighting and hitting. Over the summer he’s worked on his stick and puck handling – not to mention the shooting practices with Erik Johnson.
His stats show his development. He played 104 games for the Devils (including 9 playoff appearances) – managing one goal from 19 shots and accumulating 205 penalty minutes. With the Blues he’s played 69 games (including one playoff appearance) and has managed one goal and four assists from 31 shots. His penalty minutes with the Blues stand at 149. Janssen has radically increased his shot ratio and has started picking up assists too. He can draw penalties too – putting the Blues in a stronger position and on a powerplay.
Being the hometown boy has it’s advantages. Apart from the obvious – with a wealth of friends and family attending games – Janssen is a hard worker in the local community. He attends a lot of charity events, increases the profile of the Blues in the surrounding area and is an approachable and pleasant guy off the ice.
Obviously, the main part of his game is his fighting and hitting. He can hit players like a steam train and has had some legendary fights. He’s not the biggest player in the game but he’s definitely one of the hardest hitting. With one hit or one fight, Janssen can energise an arena, get the fans and players wound up and buzzed and, indeed, change the pace of a game to the Blues advantage. This is one of my favourite Janssen fights – against Brad May of the Anaheim Ducks on 21 November 2008 (thanks to Hockey Fights.Com for the footage):
Janssen had this to say about his fights: “Jordin Tootoo (Nashville), Ben Eager (Chicago), George Parros (Anaheim), Brad May (Anaheim) and Derek Boogaard (Minnesota). We butt heads with each other. It’s cool because we hate each other and you know you’ll get right back at each other in a couple weeks. There are some big boys out West.”
The intensity Janssen brings to his fighting (and hitting) is what separates him from the norm. He enjoys fighting – enjoys getting into players faces and, if he can make them lose their tempers and draw penalties then all to the good. What’s not to love about Cam Janssen? He may not have the talent of Paul Kariya or TJ Oshie but he plays an important part on the team. And the Blues ARE a team. You need fighters to protect the talent – and Janssen does that quite superbly.
The last word will go to Reed Low, the former Blues enforcer, speaking to Roger Hensley at St Louis Post-Dispatch:
“Before I retired, Cam and I used to train together boxing, and he hit the bag so hard it reminded me of Ivan Drago (Rocky IV). When Cam throws a punch in games, he pulls with the other hand to bring the opponent into him. That works for him because he is so strong that most guys can’t fend it off, and if they try and go toe-to-toe, Cam is willing and most likely to put the guy’s nose in line with his ears.
The biggest asset Cam has is his love of fighting. I had it too, and I loved to scare the other team and was a little crazy just to make sure that they knew I could go off. Cam has this burning in his blood and it is what makes him so good at what he does. He loves it … and I mean he loves it. Cam dreams about kicking people’s (behinds). He is working on his timing this year and he’s getting some ice time and trying to balance both jobs — which is by far the hardest job in the league.
But the best thing about Cam is that off the ice he has a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. He is the first to charity events and the last to leave. This is how most tough guys in the league are because they appreciate what they have and that people enjoy what they do. I hope that the league will recognize this instead of trying to eliminate it. This breed of player is far more that just hockey fighters, they are the fight in hockey. And without the Cam Janssens of hockey, it is nothing more than another Olympic sport.”
I am the proud owner of a Janssen #55 jersey (okay, so most of the people over here in the UK have NO idea what jersey it is but never mind). I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I love his intensity and passion; I adore his work ethic and the fact that he’s trying to bring more to his game. Next time you watch a Blues game, keep an eye out for #55. You might be surprised at what you see.