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Blues to play first game without Bouwmeester

Face Golden Knights following postponement after defenseman had cardiac episode

by Danny Webster / Independent Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- The St. Louis Blues will play Thursday for the first time since defenseman Jay Bouwmeester experienced a cardiac episode on the bench in their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

The game was stopped with 7:50 remaining in the first period before it was later postponed after Bouwmeester became unresponsive on the bench and medical personnel used a defibrillator to revive him. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where he is recovering and doing well, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Wednesday.

Video: Darren Pang on Bouwmeester in Recovery

"Yeah, I guess it's a little bit of a distraction, trying to keep ourselves busy," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said prior to their game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, FS-MW, NHL.TV). "We're together, so I guess it makes it a little bit easier when you're together (and) get back on the ice and kind of refocus here for tonight."

Pietrangelo visited Bouwmeester at the hospital Tuesday, and they Facetimed with teammates. Bouwmeester's dad, Dan, was also at the hospital because the Blues are on their annual fathers trip.

"It's a welcomed distraction," Pietrangelo said. "I think the game too, once we get out there and we start playing, I think once we get a few bumps out there, we'll keep playing and get on with the game. He's doing good, so we feel good, and I think everyone just knows to refocus for tonight."

Blues center Ryan O'Reilly said it helped the players having their dads around during the difficult time.

"We're still obviously concerned," O'Reilly said. "I think a lot of the guys are still shook up. To kind of get back in the routine of hockey, some things that we're comfortable doing that we know how to do, it's a nice distraction to get back in the hockey sense and get in that mindset.

"[Bouwmeester] would want us to go out there, play our game, and try to win, and that's what we're thinking about and that's what we're trying to do."

Pietrangelo said he thinks the incident will further cement the bond among teammates.

"Not the way you want to go about it, but it's a different vibe when the dads are around too, and you can see how guys are jelling together now more than ever," Pietrangelo said. "We're already a close group, but to have the dads here too and watch the sons lean on their dads … we've played together for a while, so it's just good for our locker room to stick together."

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