The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues sat first place in the Western Conference prior to the NHL’s indefinite hiatus but the team overcame its fair share of obstacles to get there.
Specifically when veteran defenceman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode in a scary incident during a Feb. 11 game against the Anaheim Ducks.
“It wasn’t easy for us,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said Monday during an appearance on Hockey Central. “I think for us the biggest thing was, what really turned for us in that whole situation as hard it was – we knew he probably wasn’t going to come back this year – was when he got home. I think for us it was just a waiting game making sure he was going to be OK health-wise but then it was a waiting game when the doctors cleared him to get home to his family and his kids. That’s the only thing we really wanted. Being a father myself I can’t imagine being on a five-hour flight and not being with my family after going through something like that.”
The Blues lost their next three games following Bouwmeester’s health scare but eventually got back on the winning track.
“Once those steps were taken and he got home and he was safe, he shows up at the rink like three days later and kinda caught all of us off guard but I think that was the one thing that gave us a breath of fresh air knowing he was going to be alright.”
The Blues had won 10 of 12 prior to the NHL’s indefinite suspension of play due to COVID-19.
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Pietrangelo, who ranked sixth among blueliners with 52 points in 70 games, said his daily routine during the break essentially consists of chasing around his toddler triplets who turn two in July, working out and napping.
“I think it’s a little bit easier to play D than to be a full-time dad with three toddlers I’ll tell you that much.”