By Martin Iheke
This past week for your Dallas Stars might have been the most emotional week in franchise history. They went from retiring the number “9” worn by Mike Modano and following that up with a huge win at home against the Minnesota Wild to something that almost turned out to be tragic. Last Monday evening at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the game had just barely got underway with Columbus up 1-0 when forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench because of an irregular heartbeat. The paramedics were there to resuscitate Peverley which took about 14 seconds, saving his life. He was then taken to UT Southwestern hospital where he stayed for a few days for further tests. He will miss the rest of the season because of this. “I was scared,” Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. “My first emotion was we need someone here real quick. When he dropped it was red alert. Don’t worry about the game or anything else, just turn around and scream for a doctor,” as he continued.
It was a scary scene at the arena something I will never forget. As for the game, it was postponed. The game will be restarted in its entirety on April 9th with the Blue Jackets leading, 1-0. The players and the coaches were not in the right frame of mind to continue play after witnessing something that could have been tragic, especially forward Alex Chiasson. He was so overcome by the whole incident that he ended up in the hospital. Unfortunately for the Stars, they had no time to regroup because they had to play at the St. Louis Blues the next night. This was probably the toughest coaching job that Ruff has had to do in his career. How do they mentally get ready for a big game against the Blues with the situation of fighting for a playoff spot after the circumstances they have had to endure? Well… after hearing that their teammate Peverley was doing fine, the Stars focused on the game at hand and wanted to win the game for him which they did. They beat the Blues, 3-2, in overtime thanks to Captain Jamie Benn’s goal. “Obviously last night was a scary situation but today’s a new day,” Benn said according to NHL.com. “We were thinking about Rich back home, but I thought we did a great job getting mentally ready for this game. We’re still in a big playoff push and we found a way to get two points. It’s not easy. It hit our guys pretty good last night. We did a great job as a group,” as he continued. Probably the biggest win of the season, emotionally, for the Stars. They had every reason to crater against the best team in the league on their home ice where they hardly lose, but they did not. Give credit to Ruff and the team for this extraordinary performance.
Thankfully, the Stars had a couple of days off before their next game at home against the Calgary Flames to recharge themselves. Now that Peverley will be gone for the remainder of the season, here is a chance for guys like Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller from the Texas Stars to come in and step up. Chiasson, after missing the game against the Blues, was back against the Flames. You figured now that this team has refocused, mentally, they would have no problems at home against a bad Flames team, right? Wrong. The Stars had a 3-1 lead against the Flames early in the third period before surrendering it and losing in the shootout, 4-3. “We stopped playing,” Benn said. “This time of the year with these points being so valuable, you can’t give up a 3-1 in the third period. We were lucky to get one point, tonight,” as he continued.
Unfortunately, things did not get better for the Stars as they hit the road up in Winnipeg on Sunday to play the Jets who are desperately trying to stay alive for the last playoff spot in the West. They certainly played like it, hammering the Stars by the score of 7-2 after the Stars had a 2-1 in the first period. Just an ugly game all around and you have to wonder after the past week, if there is an emotional letdown at this point? Right now, the Stars cannot afford one this late in the season while they try to hold on to the final playoff spot in the West.
The Stars will try to get back on track when they play at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. After that, they head to Philadelphia to play the Flyers on Thursday night before returning home to play the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.
3/18 @Penguins 6:00 PM
3/20 @Flyers 6:00 PM
3/22 vs Senators 2:00 PM