It’s been over a week since the Dallas Stars watched in horror as forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench midway through the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite the fact that Peverley was revived, the sight alone shook players on both clubs to the core, resulting in the game being postponed.
At the time, the Stars were making a final push for a Western Conference playoff spot. A postseason berth was still within reach, and an emotional win over the St. Louis Blues the following night certainly helped the cause. The problem, though, is the fact that Dallas hasn’t won a game since then.
Last night, the Stars lost their fourth straight, a 4-2 defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers. During this skid, Dallas has been outscored 20-8, thanks in large part to absolute blowouts at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. For a team within shouting distance of a playoff spot, trying to make their first postseason since 2008, it’s surprising how poorly they’ve played. So, it leaves one to wonder, did the Peverley incident cast the entire team into a funk, one that’ll end up as the Stars’ undoing?
Honestly, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Yes, Peverley successfully went through a procedure to treat his heart condition. Though the jury is still out on if he ever plays hockey again, it’s comforting to know he was able to take the appropriate steps to try and improve his overall health. At the same time, the event itself, the absolute horror players went through as they watched their unconscious teammate carried down the tunnel of an arena which just had the air sucked out of it, is something that will be incredibly hard to shake.
It’s one thing to watch a teammate get injured while on the ice. If it was at the hands of an opposing player, the reaction is often a mix of concern for a fallen player and motivation to make the other team pay. A rallying cry, if you will, to say “let’s win it for him.”
But this? This is nothing like that. This is seconds feeling like hours while waiting to hear whether or not paramedics were able to revive someone who was sitting right next to you just moments earlier.
Regardless of how Peverley is doing now, the terrifying collapse he suffered makes it tough to believe it’ll be easy for his team to focus solely on hockey and successfully making the playoffs. They’re currently four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, but they badly need to get their game together if they want to make one last push. Right now, the Stars are struggling mightily, and most likely doing so with heavy hearts.