Jay Bouwmeester remains hospitalized after experiencing a cardiac episode on the St. Louis Blues bench during the first period of their game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Tuesday.
“Jay Bouwmeester is doing very well at the UCI Irvine Medical Center in Anaheim,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in Las Vegas on Wednesday. “Jay is currently undergoing a battery of tests to determine the how and why of what happened last night, but things are looking positive.”
The game was stopped with 7:50 remaining in the first period when Bouwmeester became unresponsive on the bench. Armstrong said medical personnel used a defibrillator to revive him. Bouwmeester regained consciousness immediately and was taken directly to UCI Irvine Medical Center for treatment.
The game was postponed by the NHL and will be rescheduled.
“We would like to thank (head athletic trainer) Ray Barile and his staff, plus the Ducks medical staff, including both the trainers and the physicians, for their quick response,” Armstrong said. “There’s never a good time for something like this to take place, but there could not have been a better location than the Honda Center. Thanks to everyone at Honda Center for their life-saving efforts.
“It’s a testament to the NHLPA and the NHL that make sure the teams do all the proper work behind the scenes to have the people in the right spots to help the guys if anything happens.”
St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo and his father visited with Bouwmeester at the hospital Tuesday. The Blues players have their fathers with them during the road trip.
“Last night after the game me and my dad went over to see Dan (Bouwmeester’s father) and Jay, with Ray,” Pietrangelo said. “It was important for me just to see and for everyone else to see him. We FaceTimed (with teammates), [Jay] had an opportunity to see everybody, everybody sent him their wishes. Not going to speak for everybody, but it made everybody feel better knowing he was in good hands. He was in good spirits with us. Typical Jay, so I think it certainly made us all feel a lot better today knowing we had a chance to talk to him.”
The Blues stayed overnight in California and traveled to Las Vegas on Wednesday, where they’ll play the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, FS-MW, NHL.TV). Pietrangelo said the players didn’t want to leave until they knew Bouwmeester was being cared for.
“It’s going to be difficult (to play Thursday), but we talked to Jay and he’s in good spirits,” Pietrangelo said. “When you see how he’s doing it certainly makes us feel a lot better. … We stayed last night, didn’t feel comfortable leaving with not knowing how he’s doing. But he’s got his dad there, Devon (his wife) is home, our wives are reaching out. [Forward Alexander Steen’s] wife went by last night. It’s how our group is. We’re taking care of each other. Jay Bo is being Jay Bo, so I think it makes everyone feel a lot better.”
Bouwmeester was playing his 1,241st NHL game; he has played eight seasons for St. Louis and won the Stanley Cup for the first time last season. The 36-year-old has nine points (one goals, eight assists) in 56 games this season, and 424 points (88 goals, 336 assists) for the Blues, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames since the Panthers selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft.
“Our worst-conditioned athlete is a great athlete, and Jay is at the top of his profession as far as training and taking care of himself,” Armstrong said. “It crystalizes how quickly things can change.”
Armstrong said he talked to Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee, who arranged for support counselors to be available to Blues players and staff when they arrived in Las Vegas. Armstrong also said he spoke with Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill, who had a similar experience when Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench during a game March 10, 2014.
Pietrangelo said a number of Ducks players also visited with the Blues after the game.
“The NHL community comes together quickly in something like this,” Armstrong said. “It makes us, speaking for myself, the coaches, the players and trainers, feel that we’re part of a very special fraternity.”