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Peverley Done For Season

Dallas — Rich Peverley will not play again this season after collapsing on the bench during a game.

Whether the Dallas Stars forward resumes his career won’t be known until after more extensive work evaluating his irregular heartbeat.

Peverley appeared briefly at a news conference Wednesday, reading nervously from a statement that thanked “the number of people that saved my life” after he went down in the first period of a game against Columbus, stunning players, coaches and fans.

The 31-year-old left the questions to doctors who said his season was over and he would undergo a procedure that he decided to put off when his condition was first discovered during a physical before training camp in September.

Dr. Robert Dimeff said Peverley was given the option of treating atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia, with a minor adjustment and medication or missing several months to undergo a more invasive approach.

“He said, ‘I’m new to the team, it’s a new coach, a new general manager, I only have a two-year contract, they’ve got to know that I can play,’ ” Dimeff said of Peverley, who came to the Stars in an offseason trade from the Boston Bruins. “And so we went back and forth. That was a joint decision, an informed decision on his part.”

Dimeff said Peverley’s heart likely raced out of control and then stopped during the game against Columbus on Monday night, but probably for no more than about 10 seconds before medical personnel got it going again in the tunnel behind the Dallas bench at American Airlines Center. The game was postponed.

The procedure Peverley skipped in September, called an ablation, will likely be performed within days.

When he walked out of the news conference at St. Paul University Hospital, Peverley could be seen wearing a device that a doctor later described as something that monitors his heart rate constantly and can automatically implement corrective measures if the heartbeat gets out of rhythm.

Peverley remains hospitalized, but all heart tests have been normal, Dimeff said.

“The last couple of days have been a lot of anxiety, a lot of unknown,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “It turns out that it’s a great day to walk in here, to see Rich Peverley walking in here.”

Dimeff said the question of whether it’s safe for Peverley to play hockey again wasn’t one they wanted to address yet.

Peverley was sidelined through the first game of the regular season after the condition was diagnosed, then played in 60 straight games before complaining of discomfort that caused him to miss a game at Columbus last week. He played in two more games before his collapse.

Bettman: Concussions Down

Boca Raton, Fla. — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman indicated fewer concussions have occurred in the league so far this season, but wouldn’t reveal any numbers.

Bettman credited the players and NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan for the decrease on Wednesday, wrapping up the three-day general managers’ meeting.

“We think concussions are down and we think that’s in large measure because of the work that Brendan has been doing and the players have been getting it,” Bettman said. “We think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Bettman wouldn’t disclose how many fewer concussions from last year, preferring to reveal the information after the season. He said the GMs didn’t discuss the issue, which had been a major topic at previous meetings.

They did talk about two small changes to handling faceoffs. Players who previously were ejected for a faceoff violation may just have to take a step back. They recommended following the Olympic model on hash marks, moving them from 3 feet to 5 feet to prevent fighting on the wings of the faceoff circle.

In overtime, the GMs suggested making teams defend the net that is farther away from their bench.

The recommendations will be offered to the competition committee in June for consideration.

They also debated limiting teams from holding their own combines beyond the official NHL scouting combine. The group reached a consensus, but made no official recommendation.

The prevailing opinion is it’s acceptable for a team to bring a player in for medical exams or a wine-and-dine, but to bring a player in for physical and on-ice testing is an unfair advantage for bigger-budget franchises.

“The whole purpose of the combine in the first place was to eliminate 30 teams doing different things with young players, because you could have young players going to 30 different cities to do these tests,” said George McPhee, the Washington Capitals general manager.

Tim Murray, the new Buffalo general manager and former Ottawa assistant general manager, became a proponent of individual team combines when the Sabres organization explained to him the benefits of holding their own recent combine for 85 players.

Murray said he expects the league combine will eventually be held in Buffalo, which is building a new complex. He admitted he was on the minority side of the issue.

“I lost,” Murray said. “It was spirited. Some of the veteran guys said ‘you fought a great battle,’ but it was a losing battle.”