Blues' Jay Bouwmeester recovering back in St. Louis

Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has returned to St. Louis after suffering a cardiac episode in a game in Anaheim, California, last week, and he said he is "on the road to recovery."

After acquiring Canadiens defenseman Marco Scandella Tuesday, the Blues announced that Bouwmeester has been placed on long-term injured reserve, which gives them salary-cap relief.

Bouwmeester released his first public statement, a week after he collapsed on the bench.

"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," Bouwmeester 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."

Doctors used a defibrillator to revive Bouwmeester at the Honda Center before he was transported to the hospital. Bouwmeester underwent an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator procedure, which helps restore the heart's normal rhythm.

Bouwmeester added that he, his wife and daughters "are forever grateful for everyone's support, and we will continue to have a positive outlook for our future."

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he had a good conversation with Bouwmeester and believes he will personally address the media about his future in seven to 10 days.

"There's no retirement announcement from me on Jay today,'' Armstrong said. "Again, it's premature to talk like that. I want Jay to get comfortable, certainly with his family and his new normal.''

Bouwmeester met with teammates and Blues coach Craig Berube Tuesday.

"It's good to see him happy and healthy as much as he can be," Ryan O'Reilly said, according to NHL.com. "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."

In his 17th NHL season, Bouwmeester ranks second among active defensemen with 1,241 career games played -- trailing only Zdeno Chara (1,541) -- and is fourth among all active players, behind Patrick Marleau (1,709) and Joe Thornton (1,622), as well as Chara.

Bouwmeester, a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers, held one of the longest ironman streaks in NHL history with 737 consecutive regular-season games played until a lower-body injury in 2014. He missed time in 2015-16 with a concussion, and a hip injury ended his 2017-18 season. He played all but four games last season, though, and hasn't missed a game this season.

In April 2019, the Blues signed Bouwmeester to a one-year, $3.25 million deal for this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.