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Rich Peverley undergoing tests as Stars regroup

Dallas Stars players were stunned after the collapse of teammate Rich Peverley Monday night.

Sharon Ellman/Associated Press

Dallas Stars players were stunned after the collapse of teammate Rich Peverley Monday night.

ST. LOUIS — Stars forward Rich Peverley remained hospitalized Tuesday in Dallas, undergoing heart tests after collapsing on the bench during a game that was postponed.

His teammates? They are trying to deal with what they saw.

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After an eerily quiet flight and sleepless nights all around, the Stars were back on the ice for a morning skate in St. Louis, relieved that Peverley’s irregular heart condition had stabilized but clearly shaken by an event that puts their playoff push in perspective.

Even if the NHL hadn’t postponed the game Monday night in Dallas with the Blue Jackets leading, 1-0, early in the first period, linemate Tyler Seguin was done for the night. He’d come off the ice just ahead of Peverley and was right there when Peverley lost consciousness during what the team called a ‘‘cardiac event.’’

‘‘I went in the room and took my stuff off right away,’’ said Seguin, his voice catching a bit. ‘‘I was right beside him when it was all happening.’’

Forward Vernon Fiddler was with Nashville when the Red Wings’ Jiri Fischer collapsed on the Detroit bench in 2005, also from a heart problem.

‘‘You don’t expect that ever to happen,’’ Fiddler said. ‘‘I’ve been unfortunate to be part of both of those.’’

Fiddler was among four Stars players made available after the morning skate, a veteran hoping to help the kids cope.

‘‘It’s pretty emotional when you see your teammate collapse like that,’’ Fiddler said. ‘‘We have some young guys on the team and it’s a lot more difficult for them because they haven’t been through things the older guys have been through. You’ve got to help them through that.’’

For one Stars teammate, Alex Chiasson, it was too much. The team said he had joined Peverley in a Dallas hospital for observation because he was so distraught.

‘‘He wasn’t doing good,’’ coach Lindy Ruff said. ‘‘A lot of anxiety associated with what happened last night.’’

The Blues also had emotions to sort out.

Coach Ken Hitchcock was watching on TV and remembered ‘‘the silence was deafening.’’ Hitchcock rewound his DVR and then froze the screen trying to detect who was in peril on the Stars bench, then waited nervously for an update.

‘‘Lindy saying he’s OK, he’s asking about ‘Can he play?’ again, I think calmed everybody down,’’ Hitchcock said. ‘‘But there was no way you could play the game. The look on the players’ faces on both sides, there was no way you could play the game.’’

The 31-year-old Peverley, who was traded to Dallas by the Bruins last offseason, was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in training camp and underwent a procedure that sidelined him through the first regular-season game.

He had played in 60 games before sitting out at Columbus last week due to effects of his heart condition, but Monday’s game was his third straight since then.

‘‘It’s a symptomatic athlete,’’ said Dr. Barry Maron of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. ‘‘That’s the key. A symptomatic athlete with known heart disease who’s out there. That would not seem to be optimal.’’

Ruff said there were no previous concerns about Peverley and praised team doctors for doing ‘‘a fabulous job monitoring the situation.’’

Stars general manager Jim Nill said Peverley was undergoing tests to find the ‘‘cause of the event and a long-term solution.’’

The condition places Peverly’s career in jeopardy and it’s likely he won’t be back this season.

Ruff, asked whether there was a prognosis for Peverley’s return, replied: ‘‘No, no, nothing.’’

This adds poignancy to Peverley’s request, upon being revived, to get back out there. Every NHL season is filled with tales of players heading to the dressing room for repairs, getting stitched up, then rejoining the action seemingly no worse for wear.

‘‘Athletes in general, hockey players in general are kind of weird that way,’’ Stars wing Ray Whitney said. ‘‘You’ll play through injuries.

“I’m not sure about playing through a heart injury. That’s a little bit aggressive in my opinion, but that’s Rich.’’

The Stars recalled forward Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller from their Texas AHL affiliate and Ruff said both would be in the lineup against the Blues.

‘‘We’re still in a big playoff race,’’ center Jamie Benn said before Tuesday’s game. ‘‘I guess we’ll be playing for Rich tonight.’’

Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press contributed to this report from Dallas.
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