Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester ruled out for season after cardiac episode, still deciding future

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has been ruled out for the rest of the season and playoffs after his cardiac episode earlier this month, but he hasn't decided on his future beyond that.

Bouwmeester, 36, spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since he collapsed on the bench during a Feb. 11 game at the Anaheim Ducks.

"I feel pretty normal," he said during a news conference. "That's a good thing."

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Bouwmeester can take time on longer-term decisions about his hockey future because it's only February.

"There's been a lot going on," Bouwmeester said. "I think that's something I'm definitely going to have to evaluate, but to say I've done that, I wouldn't say fully yet. Obviously, there's decisions that I'm going to have to make."

Bouwmeester needed to be revived by a defibrillator after completing a shift and was taken to the hospital, where he had an internal defibrillator implanted three days later to regulate his heartbeat.

"It just came pretty suddenly," he said. "Everything up to that point was normal."

He praised the work of medical personnel in reviving him.

"It happened in the absolute best place that it could happen because of all the protocols they have in place and how people responded so quickly," he said. "No. 1, they saved my life and No. 2, the fact that they could get on it so fast was very helpful."

The Blues acquired defenseman Marco Scandella to fill his roster spot. That has allowed Bouwmeester to focus on his family.

"As a hockey player, I'd like to play hockey, so I'd sure like to be out there, but when you put everything in perspective, it's OK to just take a step back right now," he said.

He said he hasn't seen footage of the incident or talked to Jiri Fischer or Rich Peverley, who went through similar incidents.

Armstrong said the defenseman will be around the team at home and possibly on the road. Bouwmeester says he's willing to help out as needed.

The 2002 No. 3 overall draft pick is on a one-year deal. He's in his 17th NHL season and has been with the Blues since 2013. He won his first Stanley Cup last season and also won a gold medal with Canada in 2014.

"I think I've accomplished a lot of things that I've set out when you're young," Bouwmeester said.

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