BOCA RATON, Fla. – The health condition of Dallas forward Rich Peverley was on the minds of NHL general managers one day after his collapse forced the postponement of the Stars’ game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Peverley, who missed training camp this season because of an irregular heartbeat, had just returned from a shift on Monday night when he collapsed on the bench during the first period because of a “cardiac event,” a doctor said.
After a lengthy delay, the game was postponed with Columbus leading 1-0. By then, Peverley was awake and had been transported to a hospital. He was listed in stable condition.
“It was a scary situation,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “We were all at a general managers dinner and we were alerted immediately about the events in Dallas.
“We were being updated kind of on a step-by-step basis what was happening and what was transpiring.”
Stars general manager Jim Nill left the meetings and flew back to Dallas before Tuesday’s session.
For Matthieu Schneider, the NHL Players’ Association special assistant, the news about Peverley brought back memories of when former Detroit teammate Jiri Fischer went into cardiac arrest during a game on Nov. 21, 2005.
That was the first time an NHL game was postponed due to injury. Fischer was revived at the arena, but never played in the league again.
“He (Fischer) is a big man and he collapsed right on me,” Schneider said. “That was one of the scariest moments of my career. Thank goodness (Dr.) Tony Colluci was right there at the time.
“It was shocking, particularly (because) Fisch was just an incredible athlete, in amazing shape.”
That prompted the NHL to issue stringent emergency medical standards for all franchises to adhere to.
Each club must have two team doctors at every home game, and one must be seated within 50 feet of the benches during a game. An ambulance dedicated to players must be at the scene in case someone needs to be transported to a hospital.
“I think we’re much more prepared now than ever to handle serious incidents like that,” Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray said. “I think (Monday) night the little bit I saw on replay was that it was very quick to get him in position for the doctor to treat him.”
Daly said the league will likely use a similar protocol for the rescheduled game as was used when the game between Detroit and Nashville involving Fischer was made up on Jan. 23, 2006. The Predators led 1-0, but a full 60-minute game was played.
Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was unsure when his team’s game with Dallas would be scheduled.
“There’s only a couple dates that work,” he said. “It’s going to make the schedule tough but some things are bigger than hockey.
“This was the only decision to make.”