Peverley hospitalized, teammates try to regroup
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Stars forward Rich Peverley remained hospitalized in Dallas on Tuesday, undergoing heart tests after collapsing on the bench during an NHL game that was postponed.
His teammates? They are trying to deal with what they saw.
After an eerily quiet flight and sleepless nights all around, the Stars were back on the ice for practice in St. Louis, relieved that Peverley’s irregular heart condition stabilized, but clearly shaken by an event that puts their playoff push in perspective.
Even if the NHL hadn’t postponed the game on Monday in Dallas with the Blue Jackets leading 1-0 in the first period, linemate Tyler Seguin was done for the night. He came off the ice just ahead of Peverley and was right there when Peverley lost consciousness during what the team called a “cardiac event.”
“I went in the room and took my stuff off right away,” Seguin said, his voice catching a bit. “I was right beside him when it was all happening.”
Forward Vernon Fiddler was with Nashville when the Red Wings’ Jiri Fischer collapsed on the Detroit bench in 2005, also from a heart problem.
“You don’t expect that ever to happen,” Fiddler said. “I’ve been unfortunate to be part of both of those.”
Fiddler was a veteran hoping to help the kids cope.
“It’s pretty emotional when you see your teammate collapse like that,” Fiddler said. “We have some young guys on the team and it’s a lot more difficult for them because they haven’t been through things the older guys have been through. You’ve got to help them through that.”
For one Stars teammate, Alex Chiasson, it was too much. The team said he joined Peverley in a Dallas hospital for observation because he was so distraught.
“He wasn’t doing good,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “A lot of anxiety associated with what happened last night.”
The 31-year-old Peverley, who averaged 16 minutes of ice time in all six games of the Stanley Cup last season with Boston, was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in training camp and underwent a procedure that sidelined him for the preseason and first regular season game. He played in 60 consecutive games before sitting out at Columbus last week due to effects of his heart condition, but Monday’s game was his third straight since then.
“He’s always taken the precautions, he’s a very focused, organized guy, you can say,” said Seguin, who won a Stanley Cup with Peverley in Boston. “Sometimes bad things happen to good people.”
A doctor who specializes in the study of athletes and heart conditions questioned whether Peverley should have been playing, while taking care not to criticize those handling his medical needs.
“It’s a symptomatic athlete,” said Dr. Barry Maron of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. “That’s the key. A symptomatic athlete with known heart disease who’s out there. That would not seem to be optimal.”
Ruff said there were no previous concerns about Peverley and praised team doctors for doing “a fabulous job monitoring the situation.” Before practice, Ruff emphasized the positive medical report.
“He’s doing good, he’s stable and he’s in good spirits,” he said. “A few guys who’ve interacted say he’s got his sense of humor back already.”
General manager Jim Nill said Peverley was undergoing tests to find the “cause of the event and a long-term solution.” The condition places Peverely’s career in jeopardy and it’s likely he won’t be back this season.
AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed.