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Peverley hospitalized, teammates try to regroup

Doctor On Rich Peverley

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Stars forward Rich Peverley remained hospitalized Tuesday in Dallas, undergoing heart tests after collapsing on the bench during a 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 a morning skate in St. Louis, relieved that Peverley's irregular heart condition had stabilized but clearly shaken by an event that puts their playoff push in perspective.

Even if the NHL hadn't postponed the game Monday night in Dallas with the Blue Jackets leading 1-0 early in the first period, linemate Tyler Seguin was done for the night. He'd come 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 among four Stars players made available after the morning skate, 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 had joined Peverley in a Dallas hospital for observation because he was so distraught.

"Yeah, yeah, he wasn't doing good," coach Lindy Ruff said. "A lot of anxiety associated with what happened last night."

The Blues also had emotions to sort out.

Coach Ken Hitchcock was watching on TV and remembered "the silence was deafening." Hitchcock rewound his DVR and then froze the screen trying to detect who was in peril on the Stars bench, then waited nervously for an update.

"Lindy saying he's OK, he's asking about `Can he play?' again, I think calmed everybody down," Hitchcock said. "But there was no way you could play the game. The look on the players' faces on both sides, there was no way you could play the game."

Blues forward Brenden Morrow has vivid memories of Buffalo's Richard Zednik getting his throat slashed by the skate of a tumbling teammate in 2008. Morrow roomed with Zednik in juniors and the two were close friends.

"Those are scary things," Morrow said. "I don't even know where to begin with what they're thinking in that locker room."

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 through the first regular season game. He had 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 the morning skate, 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. Ruff, asked whether there was a prognosis for Peverley's return, replied: "No, no, nothing."

This adds poignancy to Peverley's request, upon being revived, to get back out there. Every NHL season is filled with tales of players heading to the dressing room for repairs, getting stitched up, then rejoining the action seemingly no worse for wear.

"Athletes in general, hockey players in general are kind of weird that way," Stars wing Ray Whitney said. "You'll play through injuries. I'm not sure about playing through a heart injury. That's a little bit aggressive in my opinion, but that's Rich."

The Stars recalled forward Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller from their Texas AHL affiliate and Ruff said both would be in the lineup against the Blues.

"We're still in a big playoff race," center Jamie Benn said. "I guess we'll be playing for Rich tonight."

Join the discussion

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Joe March 11 2014 at 8:49 PM

scary! same kind of thing happened to Fischer from Detroit... get well soon !!!!

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RON March 12 2014 at 7:55 AM

My son went thru this same kind of thing during a basketball game at 17 years old, the only thing that save his life was the fact that the school had an AED, he was shocked 4 times. He had an ICD implanted and he actually continued to play baseball, he played thru his freshman year in college. After his freshman year, during summer ball, he had another cardiac event and at that time his cardiologist decided that it was time for him to stop playing. He now plays golf only. The doctors still have not determined what causes his cardiac events, he has been thru treadmill tests and every genetics test available, he played almost 400 baseball games between his original cardiac event and the one that ended his career with no problems. There is no family history, and there was no pre-existing condition.
The doctors will put an end to Peverley's career. The risk is too great when it comes to dealing with the heart and not knowing when or why this occurs.
I feel really sorry for this guy, I am sure hockey is his life and it is tuff to give up something that you love and have work so hard to do. I know, I am watching my son go thru this now, with giving up baseball.
AED's are life savers, if your schools don't have them encourage them to look into putting them in locations close to where sporting events take place. All you have to do is go to parentwatch.com and read a few stories and you will see how important they really are.

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doug March 12 2014 at 1:05 AM

Rich has played and played well in the NHL. He has team mates who appreciate and care about him. That is success, real success. Now is the time to take care of his health and focus on having a good life for the future. The teams and NHL have handled this well.....hockey is the best professional sport by far.

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bashman30 March 11 2014 at 10:14 PM

"Peverley's request, upon being revived, to get back out there."

Typical puck head... unless you have laced em up you don't understand the mind set. What will put football players out for a month and baseball players on the 60 day DL Hockey players will get it pulled, stitched up, put back into place, or just taped up and will only miss a shift or 2. Hockey players are the definition of TEAM mates. They play THE toughest game on the face of the earth and are the toughest SOB's both mentally and physically there is... He will be back

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1 reply
GENEVAOHMAN48 bashman30 March 11 2014 at 11:06 PM

I have played the game so I know for the sake of his health and family he should retire
and even though I am a bluejackets fan I did not want to see this happen

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GENEVAOHMAN48 March 11 2014 at 11:04 PM

I believe the nhl and the officials did the right thing with postponing the game
for health sake he should retire

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peacefulcolours March 12 2014 at 8:09 AM

Scary stuff to watch a teammate - or anyone for that matter - go down in a toally unexpected heap in front of you like. Never mind if he'll be able to play hockey again for this season or ever again for that matter. His life is what matters most here. Let him coach and/or be a mentor for the youngers guys on the team but he has no business being on the ice after something as serious as that.

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richard2222carr March 12 2014 at 1:27 AM

Energy Drinks.

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El Presidente March 11 2014 at 8:48 PM

Could've been worse. If he'd gone into V-fib he'd have had about 2 minutes to live unless somebody had access to an AED. It's possible a pacemaker could solve all his problems. I wonder if anybody's ever played a pro sport with a pacer? (No basketball jokes, please.)

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3 replies
Solomon March 11 2014 at 9:59 PM

God's speed to Rich Peverley from an avid Michigan hockey fan. I, too, have had 2 situtations where I "blacked out". The 1st time there was no warning. I was driving my vehicle and just plain
"blacked out". When regaining consciousness, a fraction of a second later, I was fortunate enough
to be able to pull of to the side of the road and was "drowsy for about an hour. I went through a series of tests for 3 wks at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mi. EKG's, brain scans, various heart tests, MI's, MRI's and numerous tests I had no idea what they were for. It was determined that I had a blocked "LAD" artery. Two "stent" inplants were placed in my "LAD" artery to replace the blockage. The blockage was found when I was on the treadmill for a heart moniter. So far, so good. Hope all is well with you.

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rflush212 March 11 2014 at 9:42 PM

Hope he recovers from this. Honestly,this should be a wake up call for him to retire

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2 replies
bashman30 rflush212 March 11 2014 at 10:06 PM

Wake up call?
He was cleared by doctors to play... Millions of people walk around everyday with undiagnosed heart ailments, Thousands play sports. I'm sure they will tweek his meds tell him what he can and can't do and he'll be back out they for the playoffs

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1 reply
GENEVAOHMAN48 bashman30 March 11 2014 at 11:08 PM

bashman you are a total idiot he should retire for the sake of his family and his health having played the game I know how aggressive it is

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GENEVAOHMAN48 rflush212 March 11 2014 at 11:07 PM

I agree with you

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