Rich Peverley hasn’t played in the NHL since March 10, 2014. That’s when he collapsed on the Dallas Stars bench in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and was treated in the hallway to the locker room for “a cardiac event.” Medical personnel gave him oxygen, did chest compressions and shocked his heart.
It was a frightening, jarring situation. Yet after Peverley, 33, had additional surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat, there was optimism he might be able to continue his NHL career.
Peverley is an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to the Boston Globe, his future remains murky:
Rich Peverley is still undecided about his future as a player, according to agent Allain Roy. Peverley became an unrestricted free agent July 1. The ex-Bruin has not played since his episode with atrial fibrillation on March 10, 2014. Peverley was cleared for off-ice workouts last season. He also served as an eye-in-the-sky helper during Dallas home games. Peverley turned 33 earlier this month.
He also was a volunteer assistant coach for the Texas Stars in the AHL.
As Mike Heika notes, if Peverley could play he could be a valuable asset for an NHL team – a versatile veteran forward who had 30 points in 62 games during 2013-14.
Peverley still has to get clearance from doctors and the league before he can return to play, so this could be a moot discussion. His agent said he was pursuing a return, but that it would entail having a defibrillation device removed. All of that might create a situation where Peverley simply announces his retirement and then moves forward. However, if he does seek a return, the Stars might not want to open the door. The memory of Peverley’s collapse on the bench and the frantic actions to save his life are still fresh in the mind of coach Lindy Ruff and the players, and they might simply be too worried about Peverley’s health to have him as a teammate in a real game.
Retirement appears inevitable, but you can’t help but feel for Peverley, who clearly feels he has some unfinished business in the NHL. If he decides to play, will someone take a chance?
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