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St. Louis shows true colors with standing ovation for Jay Bouwmeester

It was a captivating and bittersweet moment for the team, player and fans. But really it was just St. Louis being St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — During the first period of Thursday's game between the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues, Tom Calhoun took a moment to announce the presence of Blues defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester, at the game.

Now, some would think a small round of applause would be in order-but St. Louis' finest sports addicts took it a step further. They gave him a standing ovation that lasted over a minute. It was so infectious that Calhoun announced Bouwmeester's name twice before the game continued.

It was a captivating and bittersweet moment for the team, player, and fans. While Bouwmeester has been at times the recipient of fan gripes throughout the years, he is still a long-time Blue who helped this team win a Stanley Cup. He's still the guy with 1,200 NHL games under his belt who could easily walk into a college lecture hall and see all the pencils be placed on the desks at once.

Bouwmeester being Bouwmeester, he gently waved and acknowledged the applause while doing his best to push their attention back to the hockey. That's just the way he is. Some will get up, do a big wave, and receive it in a bigger way. Bouwmeester is different, a man desperate to keep the focus away from him.

Watch: Jay Bouwmeester and Doug Armstrong talk about Bouwmeester's 'cardiac episode'

But let me tell you something. Inside, he was beaming. You can't shortchange that kind of ovation in route to your heart, no matter how selfless one can be. He felt it, loved it and will take it with him into the summer where uncomfortable decisions await him.

No player wants to leave the sport he dedicated his entire life to before he is ready, but every one of them wants to feel appreciated and know the time spent wasn't wasted on the fans.

Thursday night, the Blues fought back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime, using a couple late period goals to even the score before Colton Parayko's skating and reach finished the job. It was their second thrilling comeback victory in 48 hours, pushing their season point total to 86 points, five better than the second place Colorado Avalanche.

That effort took nearly 65 minutes to accomplish. The best part of the night took just under a minute. The latest display of St. Louis class for their beloved athletes, even the ones who aren't first ballot Hall of Famers.

Here's the thing. The Blues aren't retiring his number, and may not honor him in any way for a few years. But that doesn't mean fans won't take the opportunity to say goodbye. If Blues fans have seen the last of Bouwmeester, they sent him off just right.

Sometime, probably near the end of the night in his quiet home, Bouwmeester smiled and remembered the send-off St. Louis gave him.

It's true. Sports can break your heart, but they can warm it twice as much.

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