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Bouwmeester visits with Blues teammates before game against Devils

Defenseman 'on the road to recovery' after cardiac episode Feb. 11 @NHLdotcom

Jay Bouwmeester visited with his St. Louis Blues teammates on Tuesday as he continues his recovery from a cardiac episode experienced during their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 11.

"On Sunday evening, I returned to St. Louis and I am on the road to recovery," the 36-year-old defenseman said in a statement. "My wife and daughters are forever grateful for everyone's support and we will continue to have a positive outlook for our future."

St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong said it was premature to say Bouwmeester would be retiring.

"Jay's been placed on long-term injury and he and I have had a conversation," Armstrong said Tuesday. "I met with him yesterday when he got back from California. We had a good conversation. I told him there's no timeline to talk publicly. He's going to take the week. He and I are going to talk on the weekend, early next week. I expect him to come and make a public statement [in] the next 7-10 days about where he's at right now. 

"There's no retirement announcement from me on Jay today. It's premature to talk like that. I want Jay to get comfortable, certainly with his family and his new normal as far as that goes."

Bouwmeester visited with coach Craig Berube on Monday.

"He's been here for a long time with a lot of players. It's like a family," Berube said before a 3-0 home win against the New Jersey Devils, "To see him come to the rink today, and I went and visited him yesterday, that's a good feeling to see him healthy. I thought the guys were really excited about it."

Video: NSH@STL: Blues pay tribute to Bouwmeester responders

Bouwmeester, who collapsed and was then revived with a defibrillator with 7:50 remaining in the first period of the game against the Ducks, said he and his family are grateful for the medical care he received and the support he's gotten from players, teams and fans.

"I would sincerely like to thank all of the trainers from both the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks, as well as all of the first responders, the Anaheim medical staff and the team at the UCI Medical Center for their quick actions on Feb. 11," he said in a statement. "Our family has felt the support of the entire National Hockey League family and the city of St. Louis during this time. We have all been greatly comforted by your genuine concern."

Bouwmeester had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) procedure Feb. 14 to restore his heart's normal rhythm. The Blues placed him on long-term injured reserve Tuesday and acquired defenseman Marco Scandella in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's good to see him happy and healthy as much as he can be," center Ryan O'Reilly said of Bouwmeester. "I think it's good for our team to see he's OK, doing well. I like him around. Like I said to him, if he wants to come around whenever he wants to, he should. It's important he's a big part of our team whether he's playing or not."

The Blues and Ducks will play their postponed game at Honda Center on March 11 (10 p.m. ET). It will follow the same 60-minute format of all regular-season games (including overtime/shootout as necessary) and begin with the score tied 1-1, as it was when the game was postponed.

St. Louis' game against the Florida Panthers at Enterprise Center, scheduled for March 10, was rescheduled to March 9 (8 p.m. ET). independent correspondent Louie Korac contributed to this report

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