Jay Bouwmeester knows what it's like to muster up the adrenalin, pull on the game face and get ready for a playoff battle.

But what the 27-year-old iron man defenceman with the Calgary Flames doesn't have is the experience of one single post-season outing in the National Hockey League. And it's getting to be noxious for the native of Edmonton. Horribly irritating, in fact, because media are quick to point out that he has now played a league-leading 635 games without a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.

So, yeah, every miss stings. Much more than the last one.

"Every year it's not there, you're disappointed," said the six-foot-four workhorse, following Saturday's season-ending 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. "You're upset. That's where you want to be.

"It doesn't change no matter what, whether you're close or down at the bottom of the barrel. You're done at Game 82 and you don't enjoy that."

Bouwmeester, who also was unlucky enough not to get into a playoff game during four junior seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, was taken in the first round of the 2002 draft by the Florida Panthers, but had to wait for the lockout season of 2004-05 to get into his first post-season games, 18 of them, with the American league's Chicago Wolves.

So, does he think about the streak? "It is what it is," he said, biting down on his lip. "You guys can talk about that. I'm not getting into that."

If it's of any consolation, teammate Olli Jokinen rang up an NHL record 799 games before he finally got to go to the post-season with the Flames in 2009. That was a stretch that began with his rookie season of 1997-98 with Los Angeles and went through a long period in Florida before he joined Calgary. So if there's anyone who can speak on the subject, it's Olli.