Forward Rich Peverley, who has been out due to an irregular heartbeat, is expected to be in the lineup Saturday when the Stars take on the Washington Capitals at American Airlines Center.
“I think I am good to go,” Peverley said after Friday’s practice in Frisco. “I don’t see the doctor or anything. I just need to get off those blood thinners.”
Peverley was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation just prior to training camp, had a procedure to correct the problem in Cleveland and has been undergoing treatment since. He’s been practicing with the team for more than two weeks.
“He’s got a lot of work in, he just doesn’t have any game conditioning. That is one thing that is tough to simulate, but it looks like he’ll be ready to go,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ll try to break him in on an easier side, but we’ll get him in and get him going.”
Peverley centered a line with Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt on the wings in Friday’s practice. It was the first time Peverley had practiced without the red “no contact” jersey. He said there wasn’t much different about this practice than the others he has been through the past couple weeks.
“No, not really to be honest,” he said. “I got hit a few times, but I think that will come back pretty naturally. It’s just the working to get out of checks and hitting, that takes that much more energy, so that will take some time to get used to.”
That will be part of the process of getting into game shape, which will be the biggest challenge for Peverley, who was acquired along with Tyler Seguin from the Boston Bruins during the offseason.
“Just the repetition of a game. You can’t simulate the intensity of a shift,” Peverley said. “If I am in I’ll just have to keep my shifts short and try to get in the pace as quickly as possible.”
Although Peverley will be eased into things to start, he will play a key role for the Stars this season. The 31-year-old is a versatile player who can play either center or wing, is an excellent faceoff guy and he adds another right shot to the mix.
“When I was playing in Atlanta I played a lot of minutes and even when I was in Boston I played a lot of minutes, so I want to play as much as I can and be counted on in every situation,” Peverley said. “That’s always been my goal. I consider myself an all-around player; I want to play special teams and five-on-five. I’m looking forward to more responsibility and I am motivated for this year.”
As for his condition moving forward, Peverley said it won’t have an effect on his ability to play the rest of the season.
“It’s something I’ll have to monitor this year, and maybe next summer correct the problem, but it won’t be an issue this year at all,” he said.
Quotable Lindy Ruff
Here are a few quotes from Stars coach Lindy Ruff’s media availability on Friday.
On the team’s performance in Thursday night’s 4-2 loss to Florida
“I think we got to places we didn’t need to get to. Our support with our defense with the puck in our own end wasn’t very good. We had a couple breakdowns obviously that cost us goals, breakdowns that we really hadn’t seen. I think we got excited to get ahead of the play a few times. The biggest thing for me was our forwards were getting 50-60 feet ahead of our defensemen, and our attack wasn’t coming together. If we come deep and we come together we played really good hockey and if we got spread out then we played like some of the first period (of the preseason game) in Colorado.”
On allowing 39 shots on goal
“I hate 39 shots. When you start the game the way we started (one shot against in the first eight minutes), so you are looking at 38 shots in the next 52 minutes. For me, there’s no excuse for that. Our puck management, some of the things we did with the puck, we didn’t do even in camp. Some of the high risk stuff, you’re not going to win games playing like that. We know that. The good part is that the players know that. They’re angry today, as well they should be.”
On if he was tempted to shuffle his lineup after that effort
“That would be an early shuffle. With Peverley coming in, sometimes what works in camp doesn’t work in the season. The patience is going to be on a minimum, I can tell you that. I expect more out of some of the players, the type of game they gave us last night.”
Stars practice lineup
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.