Stars’ Rich Peverley season over after collapse

DALLAS — At a Wednesday afternoon news conference at University of Texas Southwestern St. Paul University Hospital, Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley made an appearance, reading a prepared statement about how condition after collapsing on the Stars bench during a Monday night game against Columbus at American Airlines Center.

"On behalf of my wife, Nathalie, all of my family and myself, I’d like to thank you and to thank all the people that saved my life," Peverley said, reading from his statement.

He added: "But I’d also like to thank the Dallas Stars organization as a whole. They have been supporting not only myself but my family. The owner Tom Gaglardi, Jim Nill, Lindy Ruff have all been in constant contact with me this entire time. I’d also like to say thank you to my wife and family for their love and support. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone from past and present teammates to management, coaches, my agent, fans and media from the entire NHL family for all their support for which I’m very much grateful."

Peverley who had 30 points (23 assists) in 62 games with the Stars this season, will not return to the ice this season. That’s because he will undergo a procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to remedy his heart condition.

Stars general manager Jim Nill then thanked the various medical personnel who attended to Peverley two nights ago at the AAC, including the Dallas training staff, the numerous physicians from UT Southwestern as well as individuals from Dallas Fire and Rescue.

Nill, who was in Florida at the NHL General Manager’s Meetings at the time of the incident but quickly returned to the Metroplex, also said how good it is to see Peverley doing well.

"The last couple days have been a lot of anxiety, a lot of unknown. It turns out it’s a great day. To walk in here and see Rich Peverley walking in with us, I don’t think you get a much better day than that. It’s been a tough couple days for everybody and like I say it’s a great day and to see Rich again, we’re just excited," Nill said.

Dr. Robert J. Dimeff, the Stars’ director of medical services, followed Nill and provided a full update on Peverley’s situation and also a glimpse into what lay ahead for the veteran center.

Dimeff said that when the Stars’ medical staff performed a physical on Peverley prior to the start of preseason, they discovered he had atrial fibrillation, a genetic yet common heart rhythm disturbance, a disorder which Peverley’s mother also has.

Peverley had a procedure to correct his irregular heartbeat but the plan was for him to have another one after the end of this season. However, had he undergone the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic he is about to have soon, he would have been out for about three months.

And according to Dimeff, Peverley said that since he was new to the Stars and on a two-year deal, he would rather put off the procedure until after the season so he could make a good impression on his new team.

Of course, this decision was arrived at only after consultation between all parties involved.

"We had lengthy discussions about that with Rich, his wife and agent and moved forward in his best interest, which is what he wanted to do, and the Stars were fully supportive of this," Dimeff said.

In September, Peverley underwent a procedure called cardioversion that is designed to get the heart of a person with an irregular heartbeat back into a normal sinus rhythm. Peverley was prescribed medication and also regularly monitored and there were no issues until a week before the incident occurred.

"We had the event last Monday, two Mondays ago where after the first period he said I don’t feel right. (He said) ‘I’m feeling tired and sluggish’ and he’s gotten to know when he’s in atrial fibrillation, knows what it feels like and indeed it was atrial fibrillation during that game," Dimeff said. "And so in immediate consultation with our cardiologist, we treated him and adjusted his dose of medication and so we kept him home the day after and he performed the next two or three games and then that leads us to the event that happened on Monday."

Dimeff also stated during his update that it took all of 14 seconds for the team of medical personnel to move Peverley from the Stars bench to the hallway behind both benches, where oxygen was administered along with an IV and CPR was started before he was finally defibrillated, a course of treatment he responded to on the first attempt.

After being transported to St. Paul University Hospital following the event, he has undergone extensive testing, which he has come through quite well.

"Thankfully all that testing has been normal. The catheterization of his coronary arteries is normal. His heart muscle is normal," Dimeff said. "It’s just this electrical disturbance that he has. And we’re looking back and trying to sort out exactly why that rhythm occurred."

With Peverley out, rookie Colton Sceviour, who was leading the American Hockey League in goals when he was recalled from the Texas Stars on Monday night, will get a much longer look in the NHL.

Sceviour scored Dallas’ first goal of a 3-2 overtime win at the St. Louis Blues on Monday night but it appears he will continue to skate on the Stars’ second line alongside left wing Erik Cole and center Cody Eakin.

The prognosis for Peverley appears to be favorable following this procedure, which carries with it a typical recovery time of around three months. However, it’s way too premature to speculate about what sort of future he has or doesn’t have on the ice.