Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was conscious and alert in an Orange, Calif., hospital after suffering a cardiac incident and collapsing as he sat on the bench during the first period of the team's game with the Ducks on Tuesday night.
The game was postponed with 7:50 to go in the first period.
"With 7:50 remaining in the first period of our game tonight, Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode and collapsed on our bench after completing his shift," said general manager Doug Armstrong in a statement issued by the team. "Thankfully, with the quick response of our medical trainers, Anaheim medical trainers and their team physicians, they were able to stabilize Jay. He was alert and moving all of his extremities as he was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center. Currently, Jay is conscious and alert as he undergoes further testing by Anaheim's physicians. We will update Jay's condition on Wednesday morning."
Bouwmeester had just finished a shift on the ice which showed no unusual incidents. Replays showed him falling forward on the bench, with teammates Vince Dunn and Alex Pietrangelo frantically waving for assistance.
Medical staff from the Ducks rushed to the bench during the stoppage, the bench was moved to give them room to work and Bouwmeester was put on a stretcher and wheeled away. Players from both teams stood on the ice in silence watching. After he was taken off, players from both teams headed to the dressing room. A short while later, it was announced that the game would not continue.
The game was tied 1-1 at the time. It will be made up at a later date.
"Tonight's game between the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks has been postponed by the NHL due to a medical emergency that occurred at 12:10 of the first period involving defenseman Jay Bouwmeester," the league said. "A decision on when the game will be played will be made in the near future."
This was the team's annual Dads Trip, so Bouwmeester's father, Dan, was on hand and accompanied his son to the hospital.
The team had been scheduled to fly to Las Vegas after the game for a game there on Thursday, but the team instead stayed in Orange County.
The hockey community rallied around Bouwmeester, with teams around the league tweeting words of support.
"Praying for Bo!" tweeted former teammate T.J. Oshie.
"We join the hockey community and the St. Louis Blues in sending our thoughts and prayers to Jay Bouwmeester and his family," the Pittsburgh Penguins tweeted.
"Sending my thoughts and prayers to Jay Bouwmeester, his family and the @StLouisBlues," said Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner.
At 36 years, 4 months, Bouwmeester is the oldest member of the Blues. His career looked in doubt after a poor start to last season, but his game rebounded and he was playing so well at the end that the Blues renewed his contract for this season. He told the Post-Dispatch last week that he wanted to play again next season, but that there had been no discussions with the Blues. "They've got more important players to worry about," he said, a reference no doubt to Pietrangelo, who is a free agent after this season.
Though Bouwmeester is soft spoken, he's held in high regard in the Blues dressing room because of his experience and wisdom. When Pietrangelo received the Stanley Cup last season after the Blues victory in Boston, the first player he handed the Cup to was Bouwmeester, who had played 1,184 games in the league before winning it.
A defense-first defenseman, Bouwmeester has usually been teamed with Colton Parayko on the Blues' shutdown pairing, going up against the other team's top scoring line.
Bouwmeester is generally considered the fittest member of the team, taking long bike rides near his home in the Canadian Rockies in the offseason.
The incident was reminiscent of one on May 11, 1998, when Blues defenseman Chris Pronger was hit in the chest by a puck shot by Dmitri Mironov of Detroit. Pronger fell down, covered up the puck, then got up, took two strides and collapsed. He was unconscious for about 20 seconds.
The puck had caused Pronger's heart to skip a beat. He spent the night at a hospital in Detroit and was back in action four days later.
In 2014, Rich Peverley of the Dallas Stars collapsed on his team’s bench and had to be revived after he went into cardiac arrest. He had previously been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. In 2005, Jiri Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings went into cardiac arrest while on the bench and was revived by a defibrillator after being unconscious for six minutes and the game was postponed.
At the time of the incident Tuesday, the Blues and Ducks were tied 1-1.
Adam Henrique put Anaheim ahead on a redirection of a shot by Hampus Lindholm 5:29 into the first.
Ivan Barbashev got the Blues even on the first goal by a forward since last Tuesday. Jordan Kyrou, back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch against Dallas snagged a loose puck as Anaheim tried to get it out of their zone. He flipped it up to Barbashev, who was behind the Anaheim defense and put it past goalie John Gibson for his eighth goal of the season. Barbashev had gone nine games without a goal and it was Kyrou's first point since Dec. 29.