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Stars teammates relieved for Peverley, ready for Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin expressed the sentiment shared by his teammates and organization in light of the incident Monday night involving forward Rich Peverley.

"Thank God he's OK," Seguin said of Peverley after a morning skate Tuesday before the Stars play the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. "Hockey's just a game at that point. It really puts things in perspective."

Peverley, who collapsed Monday night on the bench during the first period of the Stars' home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, is resting comfortably, general manager Jim Nill said in a statement released by the team.

The NHL postponed the game Monday at 6:23 of the first period. The Stars are working with the NHL to determine scheduling arrangements for the game, according to a statement on the team's website.

Stars captain Jamie Benn, who along with Seguin came off the ice from a shift with Peverley, said the mood Tuesday is much better with the team after they found out Peverley was in stable condition.

"It's a big relief," Benn said. "We were pretty scared there. Once we found out that he was good and stable, it was a very big relief. He's in good hands.

"It's something you never want to see. Obviously Rich is a big part of this team. We're obviously a family in here and we never want to see someone go down like that."

Nill left the League's GM meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., to return to Dallas and said in a statement  Peverley, 31, is doing well.

"Rich Peverley is resting comfortably and being monitored at UT Southwestern St. Paul," Nill said in the statement. "He is currently undergoing testing to discover what triggered the cardiac event [Monday] night. The focus of all the testing and monitoring is being dedicated to finding the cause of the event and a long-term solution to rectify the problem.

"Rich has been communicating with his teammates and friends. He is extremely grateful for all of the prayers and support that he's received from fans and friends alike."

Peverley has a documented history of heart issues and has been closely monitored by Stars doctors all season. He took a physical prior to training camp and it revealed he had an irregular heartbeat. Peverley underwent a procedure in Cleveland in September and missed all of camp, the entire slate of preseason games and the first regular-season game for the Stars. He missed a game March 4 in Columbus because of the issue.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff and teammates received text messages from Peverley, whose wife relayed a message to Ruff and players as well.

"He's doing good," Ruff said. "He's stable, he's in good spirits. A few guys said he's interacted and said he's got his sense of humor back and ready. … We've got a player now there that's going to be fine. He's in good medical care and the story we get to tell is a real good one. That's the part I like."

The Stars, who recalled forwards Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller from the American Hockey League's Texas Stars, did leave right wing Alex Chiasson home Monday after the forward experienced anxiety attacks in light of the incident with Peverley, a close friend.

"He was shaken by the whole event; emotionally shaken," Ruff said of Chiasson, who was checked into a local hospital for observation. "He wasn't doing very well so we thought best to get him under some care. He's going to be fine, but Alex was really stressed by it."

Veteran right wing Ray Whitney said he's never experienced anything like it. Whitney was a member of the Detroit Red Wings in 2005 when Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench with a similar issue, but Whitney was injured and did not play in that game.

"Thank God he's OK. Hockey's just a game at that point."
-- Stars F Tyler Seguin

"It's certainly a scary moment," Whitney said. "Not only for all of us but obviously for [Peverley's] wife and son, who were with him last night.

"We all know the history of his condition. Thankfully our medical staff was right there. He sent a text out; we all got it. [It] said he's doing fine, thanks for the support."

It's now up to Ruff to get his players focused on a game Tuesday, which may be one of the toughest tasks as a coach to date.

"You give them their time," Ruff said of the players. "I thought this morning for a second that we kind of drifted off. We just tried to get their attention again. I called them together and said, 'We've got a game to play. Pevs is fine. Pevs would want us to play hard and get focused.' It's my job to get them ready and I'm going to have them ready. And they're professionals. That was hard. That shook everybody. That was a real hard emotional event. It doesn't go away instantaneously, but we'll get through it."

The Stars will hold a press conference Wednesday, along with University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center doctors, to give an update on Peverley's condition.

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