Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley stopped by the Stars training facility Thursday morning to say hello to his teammates and other team personnel.
“It was great,” said defenseman Trevor Daley. “We got text messages from him and some of us talked to him, but just to get to see him. When he walked in, he had a lot of guys talk to him.”
“I thought it was great,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It put a smile on everybody’s face.”
Peverley is out for the season and will undergo a procedure to deal with an irregular heartbeat after collapsing on the bench in Monday’s game against Columbus at American Airlines Center.
He was released from the hospital Wednesday night and brightened the mood in Frisco Thursday morning with his appearance, sticking around for a couple hours.
“It’s awesome,” said forward Alex Chiasson. “I think I was the first one to see him in the hospital the next day and it definitely made me feel a lot better, and just to see him around today – he walked in the gym – and you could see all the guys really happy to see him. We’re just happy that he is healthy and back with his family.”
Chiasson was particularly hit hard by the Peverley incident and was unable to play in the team’s next game, which was Tuesday in St. Louis.
“I’ve never seen anything like that happen,” Chiasson said. “For me, Pevs is someone I sat next to in the locker room, was someone who took care of me on the road, always the first one to text me to see if I wanted to go to dinner. For a young guy it’s always hard to open up if you have any questions, and he’s the guy I leaned on for that type of thing throughout the year.
“Emotionally it was really hard. There are different thoughts that go through your mind, and you never want to see anything like that. But I feel great today, I am back skating with the guys, this is what I like to do and this is where I feel comfortable. The only thing I could ask for is to see Pevs today and it put a smile on my face this morning.”
And Ruff said it was good for Peverley to be around his teammates as well.
“I think it means a lot,” Ruff said. “That camaraderie in the dressing room and the line he plays with, the teammates he sits next to, just to walk back in the facility here and be part of it. For him, this is tough because hockey has been his life and he gets to come and watch practice and I’m pretty sure watching practice wasn’t what he had in mind. At the same time, it had to be a real good day for him.”
Injury notes: Lehtonen close to returning; Eakin doubtful for Friday
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has been out since Saturday with a concussion, skated before today’s practice and is close to returning.
“Kari is doing great,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s worked out a couple of days. He’ll see the doctors tomorrow to see if he can be cleared. If he’s cleared tomorrow, we’ll keep progressing. He’s way ahead of where I thought he’d be. It’s great to see. … I would anticipate that after he sees the doctor he would be back with us.”
Stars center Cody Eakin did not practice today. He has a lower body injury and his doubtful for Friday’s game against Calgary.
“It’s nothing that is serious, but it’s in a bad spot,” Ruff said.
If Eakin can’t go, the Stars would likely have to call up a forward from the Texas Stars.
With Eakin not skating, Shawn Horcoff took Eakin’s spot on a line with Erik Cole and Colton Sceviour. Here was how the Stars lined up in practice Thursday.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole – Shawn Horcoff – Colton Sceviour
Antoine Roussel – Vernon Fiddler – Alex Chiasson
Ray Whitney – Ryan Garbutt
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Kevin Connauton – Sergei Gonchar
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.