ST. LOUIS - The Blues activated defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from injured reserve on Monday, making the defenseman available to play as early as Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
"A quality player like 'Bo,' he's an important piece to our game," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "He's a guy, with his skating ability, his defensive game, he does so many little things that help you win hockey games. We have to get him back and get him up to speed here quickly… We don't expect his game to be exactly where it's going to be five or 10 games from now. We have to understand he's missed a lot of time, but his experience will make his transition come along quickly."
Bouwmeester was originally injured on just the third day of training camp (Sept. 17) when he took a puck off the ankle during a scrimmage at the team's practice facility. Bouwmeester was originally expected to be re-evaluated in three weeks, but the injury has sidelined him for nearly nine. Bouwmeester has missed 21 regular-season games thus far.
Video: Bouwmeester activated from injured reserve
"You don't really know for sure, but it's just something that took longer than I guess anyone had predicted," Bouwmeester told stlouisblues.com about the injury. "The last week or two, it's really come along. I feel good skating out there and back to normal, so that's really all I can worry about now… I've never been in a position to miss that much time at the start of the year. It will be different.
"Like anybody, you want to play, so I'm looking forward to it."
Aside from giving the Blues a healthy group of defensemen for the first time all season, Bouwmeester figures to help the Blues in a big way on the penalty kill.
"He's going to step right in there," Yeo said. "Obviously we've missed him in that area. You look at him and his ability to go back and help and retrieve pucks and jump on loose pucks, pressure in situations… obviously he's got the size, range and the reach to break plays up and get on people a little bit quicker. Obviously his play around the net is going to be very, very important for us. Whether it's getting up and flexing out and blocking shots when he's that strong side guy or weak side guy, breaking up plays around the net, we've definitely missed him there."
"He plays both ends of the ice, and he's a guy that eats a lot minutes, too," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told stlouisblues.com. "We've been doing well on the backend, but when you bring a guy with that kind of experience, it sends a calming influence throughout the lineup. He can really control the game and I'm looking forward to having him back."