By B. J. Rains
ST. LOUIS – After being out since suffering a concussion in the season opener on Oct. 9, Blues forward Cam Janssen is ready to make up for lost time.
And that means raising as much money as possible for The Fisher House, a charity that supports U.S. military members and their families. Janssen announced before the season that he will donate $25 for every hit he issues on an opposing player.
But after playing in just part of the season opener, Janssen knows he has extra hits to give once he returns.
“Trust me,” Janssen said Wednesday. “I’m going to give plenty of money to that charity once I get back in action here. I’m going to give that charity a lot of money, maybe too much to where I have to check my bank account. But if that’s the case, that’s great.
“I want to hit. I want some contact. I haven’t had contact in like 2 1/2 weeks, so I’m craving it.”
The enforcer Janssen chose to donate money for hits because if he did it for his goals, he said "the charity would probably go into debt.” Janssen, who issued 73 hits in 43 games last year, has just two goals in 207 NHL games.
Janssen became familiar with The Fisher House during a recent visit to Jefferson Barracks Veterans Hospital. He toured the house and got more information and decided he wanted to do something to help give back. The plan to donate for each hit was his idea.
“I have a lot of friends and family who were in the military or are in the military,” Janssen said. “I saw the Fisher House and kind of found out what it was, and I just thought it would be a great thing to do. Being from Eureka, it’s kind of a military town and I’ve lost a couple friends overseas and I just think it’s the best thing I can do.
“They support families when their loved ones get injured in combat. They support this house to when they are in the hospital, they have these houses near hospitals to where their family and friends can live there for free and be close to their loved ones that are injured. It’s awesome. It’s a really nice house, it looks over the river. … And people get excited about me hitting.”
Said Rachael Fernandez, St. Louis Fisher House Manager: "We are very grateful for Cam’s support of the St. Louis Fisher House. Without the support of Cam and our local community the St. Louis Fisher House would not be able to help so many families that are going through such a difficult time. We know that a families love is good medicine and the Fisher House allows us to relieve the financial burden and some of the stress the families must face, while leaving their home and coming to the St. Louis VA to be with their loved one at their bedside. We guesstimate that this one house will offer 73,000 nights of free lodging and a 'home away from home' for families in the first decade of opening."
Janssen hoped to record 150 hits this year, an average of just under two per game. But after missing six games with the concussion, Janssen is eager to return to the ice and catch up.
Janssen skated on his own over the weekend before joining his teammates on the ice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He was activated from injured reserve and traveled with the team to Nashville for tonight’s game against the Predators, but likely will be a healthy scratch.
But Janssen made it clear Wednesday that he was feeling 100 percent and ready to contribute whenever called upon.
“It’s tough to change the lineup up because the boys are playing great,” Janssen said. “But whenever they need me, I’ll be ready.
“I feel great. I feel just like I did in training camp. I’ve been working hard. It’s kind of like I just took a week off because I wasn’t really injured but it was a protocol for my head injury. I wasn’t injured. I basically took a week off to rest and I started back up again and now I’m back to normal and back in shape and back into game shape.”
Janssen said the concussion, “might have been a blessing in disguise because I was a little sore. Training camp was tough. I had a couple rough battles and maybe it was for the best to take a week off. I did and now I’m back at it and skating with the guys and back 100 percent and feeling great.”
But when he does finally crack the lineup, opposing players may want to look out. He’s playing for charity.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski