Stars relieved Peverley appears to be doing well day after collapse

The Stars' locker room in St. Louis was minus two players Tuesday: Rich Peverley, who had collapsed on the bench the night before, and Alex Chiasson, who was so shaken that he didn't make the trip with teammates. But Jamie Benn and the rest of the Stars are relieved Peverley appears to be OK.

Jeff Roberson/AP

ST. LOUIS — The story the Dallas Stars get to tell is a good one. A very good one. That’s the part Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he likes. Because he knows it could have been so much worse.

In the first period of the Stars-Blue Jackets game Monday night in Dallas, Stars forwards Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn finished a shift about seven minutes into the game and skated off the ice.

"I was off first and then Pevs came and then Bennie after that," Seguin said. "When I looked over he was kind of just collapsed. I thought he broke his leg or something with the way I looked at him. Then when I knew it was Peverley, it kind of clicked in what was going on. … The rest was kind of, I guess, a little bit of a blur."

The Stars knew this could be serious. Peverley, 31, had missed the preseason and the season opener while receiving treatment for an irregular heartbeat. And then he missed the Stars’ game against Columbus last Tuesday for more treatment.

Medical staff responded quickly and moved Peverley off the bench and down the tunnel behind closed doors, leaving the Stars to wonder what was going on — and to fear the worst.

"You could tell the guys on the ice were very concerned," forward Ray Whitney said.

Rich Peverley, shown here skating against the Avalanche in January, gave his teammates quite a scare Monday.

Doctors, meanwhile, worked quickly to revive Peverley. They gave him oxygen and an IV, did chest compressions and used a defibrillator, according to The Dallas Morning News.

A short while later, Ruff came back to the Stars’ bench with good news.

It’s very traumatic.

Stars forward Ray Whitney

"Lindy (came) out fairly quick and saying he’s awake, they revived him, he’s on the way to recovery," Whitney said. "He wasn’t in the ambulance or anything yet, but Lindy came out and reassured us he’s talking, he’s fine. That puts your mind at ease, I think, after that."

By that time the game had been postponed. The Stars then flew to St. Louis on Monday night for tonight’s game against the Blues.

Chiasson, however, did not make the trip. He was released from the hospital but the Stars decided he wasn’t ready to travel with the team, the Morning News reported.

"You look at how Alex Chiasson dealt with it," Whitney said. "It’s very traumatic, especially for a young guy who’s probably never been around anything like that."


The Stars were back on the ice Tuesday morning for a skate, able to breathe easier knowing Peverley was doing better.

"He’s stable and he’s in good spirits," Ruff said. "A few guys who’ve interacted say he’s got a sense of humor back already."

The incident recalls a situation from nine years ago, when Jiri Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings had a seizure on the bench in the first period of a game against Nashville. Fischer was given CPR on the bench and medical staff used a defibrillator before he was removed on a stretcher.

"The year I left Detroit it happened to Jiri Fischer," Whitney said. "I was watching that game (which also was postponed). The league does a great job of making sure the medical people are as close to the playing surface as possible. They were there instantly last night.

"It’s certainly a scary moment. Not only for all of us, but obviously, his wife and his son, who were with him last night. That was the biggest thing as players — you obviously wish the best for Rich, but you feel for his wife and family at the time because it’s very traumatic."

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St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was watching the Stars-Blue Jackets game on television.

"The silence was just deafening," Hitchcock said. "… Waiting for information was hard for all of us. I know some of those trainers. I’ve worked with those trainers (when coaching the Stars). When I saw Craig (Lowry) running sideways on the bench there, I knew there was big trouble. So you’re hoping. Then you’re standing there.

"I even stopped the screen twice. When Rich’s name wasn’t being announced, I stopped it twice to start counting numbers to see who it was. First of all I thought it was a coach. Then (analyst) Daryl (Reaugh) said Rich was the only guy not back on the bench. Then you knew from his problems in September that something had crept in."

But Peverley got the immediate support he needed.

"We got the best-case scenario, the best results, the best care," Ruff said. "The treatment, like I said last night and I witnessed it, was absolutely fabulous. It’s no different than a hockey team, they train for that situation and they hit it on every mark. I think that medical community deserves a standing ovation for what they did with our player last night."

The coach had never dealt with a situation like Monday night’s and hopes that he won’t ever have to again.

"The story we get to tell is a real good one," Ruff said. "That’s the part I like."

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