Speaking with media Wednesday, Blues GM Doug Armstrong announced defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is doing "very well" after collapsing due to a cardiac event during the first period of the St. Louis' contest against the Ducks on Tuesday night.
In a brief statement shortly after the Blues arrived in Las Vegas Wednesday, where they will suit up and play against the Golden Knights Thursday, Armstrong said that Bouwmeester, 36, remains at UC Irvine Medical Center in Anaheim where he is "currently undergoing a battery of tests to determine the how and why of what happened last night, but things are looking very positive." In his statement, Armstrong thanked Blues athletic trainer Ray Barile and staff, as well as the Ducks trainers and physicians for their response.
The incident involving Bouwmeester occurred midway through the opening frame of Tuesday's game, when the veteran defenseman collapsed on the Blues' bench during a break in play. After teammates motioned for medical attention, medical personnel reached Bouwmeester, who was unresponsive. Armstrong said a defibrillator was used to revive Bouwmeester, who regained consciousness and was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center. The game between the Blues and Ducks was subsequently postponed.
"There is never a good time for something like this to take place, but there could not have been a better location than the Honda Center," Armstrong said. "Thanks again to everyone involved at the Honda Center, and the Ducks organization, for their life-saving efforts."
Captain Alex Pietrangelo said that following the postponement of the game, he and his father – St. Louis is currently in the midst of their fathers' trip, and Bouwmeester's father went to hospital with his son – went to UC Irvine Medical Center. He FaceTimed with his teammates, allowing the Blues players to send along well wishes.
"It's hard to even explain," Pietrangelo said of Bouwmeester's collapse. "It happened so fast, but it felt like it was an eternity for us...It's not easy to see anybody go through it, let alone your close friend and teammate that you spend every day with. We're a tight group in our locker room. If you've been around us, you know how close we are. Certainly, we're lucky to have each other any time you're going through something like this."
As for the postponed game, Armstrong said the NHL may need to make some scheduling changes for either the Blues or Ducks in order to accommodate the replay. When the game is played, it will begin 1-1, the score at the time of postponement, but all 60 minutes will be played. That, of course, is secondary to the health and recovery of Bouwmeester.
"The NHL community comes together very quickly on something like this," Armstrong said. "It makes us, speaking for myself but hopefully the coaches, players and trainers, that we are part of a very special fraternity."
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