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Bouwmeester to be on Blues' minds when they resume game against Ducks

Return to Anaheim for first time since defenseman had cardiac episode

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will return to the scene of Jay Bouwmeester's cardiac episode when they resume their road game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-MW, NHL.TV).

The defenseman collapsed on the bench with 7:50 remaining in the first period during the game on Feb. 11 and needed to be revived with a defibrillator. He was sent to a hospital and had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) procedure, which restores the heart's normal rhythm, three days later. He returned to St. Louis on Feb. 16.

The Blues and Ducks, who were tied 1-1, will play a full three periods, but the score and goals by Ivan Barbashev of the Blues and Adam Henrique of the Ducks will remain intact.

"A lot of us are going to be a little bit uneasy," Blues center Robert Thomas said. "Obviously it's a tough situation to go back there. The memories are going to haunt you a little bit. For us, we'll be thinking about Jay and we'll be playing for him. So we'll be ready to go for that one."

The Blues were scheduled to play the Florida Panthers at home on Tuesday, but the game was moved up one day to accommodate the makeup game. St. Louis lost 2-1.

Coach Craig Berube said he's unsure what to expect in Anaheim.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Berube said after the loss to the Panthers. "Once the puck drops, we'll go play hockey. Obviously, before that, players and people, coaches, you have emotions about it all, but once the puck drops, you go play."

Video: NYI@STL: Bouwmeester receives ovation in St. Louis

Thomas agreed that the emotions will subside when the game begins but said Bouwmeester will be on the Blues' minds.

"Yeah, I think a little bit once we get into the game," Thomas said, "but we're going to be playing this one for Jay. And we'll be ready to go."

Bouwmeester spoke publicly for the first time Feb. 26 and said that he will not play for the rest of the season.

Bouwmeester, who has been with the Blues since the 2012-13 season, has 424 points (88 goals, 336 assists) in 1,240 NHL regular-season games with the Blues, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers. He said he will address his NHL future at a later date.

The Blues (41-19-10) are two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Central Division. The Ducks (28-32-9) were 12 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

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