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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is back in St. Louis after collapsing on the bench during a game in Anaheim last week and said in a statement Tuesday that he is “on the road to recovery.”
Bouwmeester, 36, collapsed during the first period of a game Feb. 11 after going into cardiac arrest. He had a cardioverter defibrillator implanted into his chest at UCI Medical Center in Orange County, California, where he had been hospitalized until returning to St. Louis on Sunday.
In a statement issued by the Blues, Bouwmeester thanked team trainers for both the Blues and Ducks, along with first responders and the medical staff at UCI Medical Center.
“Our family has felt the support of the entire National Hockey League family and the city of St. Louis during this time,” Bouwmeester said in the statement. "We have all been greatly comforted by your genuine concern. On Sunday evening, I returned to St. Louis and I am on the road to recovery. My wife and daughters are forever grateful for everyone’s support and we will continue to have a positive outlook for our future.”
The game was postponed and will be played March 11. It will begin with a 1-1 score, as it was at the time of the postponement, but still follow a full 60-minute format.
The Blues put Bouwmeester on long-term injured reserve, which gives them salary-cap relief, and took a step toward filling his spot on the blue line by acquiring defenseman Marco Scandella from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2020 second-round pick and conditional 2021 fourth-round pick.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he had a good conversation with Bouwmeester and believes he will personally address the media about his future in seven to 10 days.
“There’s no retirement announcement from me on Jay today,” Armstrong said. “Again, it’s premature to talk like that. I want Jay to get comfortable, certainly with his family and his new normal.”
Scandella, 29, was traded for the second time this season. He has 12 points in 51 games with the Buffalo Sabres and Canadiens.
Armstrong said Bouwmeester’s condition necessitated the move.
“We’ve signed him to a one-way contract for next year but entering this important push and the postseason if we’re fortunate enough to play well enough to get there, experience does matter,” Armstrong said. “If we were sitting here 10 days ago I would have said one area we wouldn’t be touching was our defense but things change in that fashion.”