By Patrick Kelly
It is less than 48 hours from one of the most scary incidents in Blues history. As it is known now, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a “cardiac episode” on the bench halfway through the first period during Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. The game was postponed and after being transported to UC Irvine Medical Center, Bouwmeester is “doing well” and was even able to Facetime with the team that night.
Tuesday was a night bigger than hockey, with all 32 (Seattle included) teams reaching out expressing support for the iron man. The toughest part of the ordeal will be tonight. The Blues have to put what happened in the back of their minds and focus on the the Vegas Golden Knights.
Before being postponed, Tuesday was a big game for the Blues, as the Avalanche and Stars played and ended up winning. The Avalanche are now a point behind the Blues with just a game in hand. Meanwhile, the Stars are four points back and are now even in games with the Blues. The Stars have a tough matchup tonight against the Maple Leafs and the Avalanche battle at home with the Washington Capitals, a game that should feature a lot of offense both ways.
The Blues have to work on getting back to normalcy. The players will obviously be playing with Bouwmeester on their minds tonight and hopefully they will be able to channel it into two points. It’s still the Dads Trip and we can’t forget how much they can jump-start this club.
The Blues also announced they have called up defender Niko Mikkola from San Antonio. Mikkola was already in St. Louis about a month ago while Colton Parayko was out. It is unclear how long Mikkola will remain in the NHL, but for the time being he is a solid left-handed shot. One thing the Blues have lost in the past year is penalty killing defense. With Joel Edmundson being traded and with it being unclear when or if Bouwmeester will return, the Blues have lost top two defenders that ate up minutes when shorthanded. The Blues’ penalty kill is currently sitting middle of the pack in the league at 80.8.
The Golden Knights are in a big fight in the Pacific where five teams are within five points of each other for the top spot. The Knights are 3-1-1 in their last five and are coming off a shutout loss to the Wild in Minnesota. Malcolm Subban will start in net tonight against the team he made his debut against when he was a Boston Bruin.
Despite the Blues playing only about 13 minutes of the game on Tuesday, head coach Craig Berube decided to keep the rotation going so Jordan Binnington will be in net tonight against the Golden Knights. On the back end the Blues had to mix things up just a little with Vince Dunn playing with Robert Bortuzzo tonight as well as Justin Faulk playing with Parayko.