Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more games this season (and finished the season with the team) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.
Some of these players' seasons are easy to evaluate. Tyler Seguin. Jamie Benn. Pretty good, yes? Some of the veterans who came in and struggled all season long... ehhh... you know.
How do you evaluate the partial season of Rich Peverley, his first in a Dallas Stars uniform after coming from Boston in the trade that sent Loui Eriksson away for Seguin? How do you evaluate a guy the world now sees in a very particular way after one very particular night that rocked all our sports worlds?
When I started typing "Rich Peverley" into a Google search box the other day the suggested auto-completion were the following for starters:
rich peverley collapse
rich peverley heart
rich peverley surgery
rich peverley meme
And that stinks. That stinks for a guy that made his way out of the ECHL, undrafted, into the American League and parts beyond before winning a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011- He is a husband and a father, and so much more than that incident, and yet that's all he is to anyone right now, beyond his teammates, friends, and family.
Or more importantly, his doctors right now.
These conversation starters are supposed to be about what a player did this season on the ice in the flow of hockey games, but it's difficult to not look at Rich's incomplete season and wonder what exactly lies in store for the guy in the future.
Can he physiologically handle the rigors of playing hockey day in and day out in the National Hockey League? Will he be forced to retire? It's a scary choice to make, if there's any doubt or leeway. How do you give up your life's work? How do you resume it knowing what it will do to your family to watch you try?
Could the Stars deal with it? Could Lindy Ruff, who went through so much that night? Could Alex Chiasson and the others who saw what they saw? Could they ever view him as just one of the guys again, or would he always be fragile in their minds? Wouldn't it always be weird?
If he could play again, in other words, could he play here?
His life became what was important on that most bizarre of nights - but what of his game? It was versatile. It was an important tool in Lindy Ruff's arsenal, though he suffered from the same shuffle that made for weird seasons where many were concerned (Chiasson, Valeri Nichushkin, Shawn Horcoff, Ray Whitney, etc).
He became Mr. Fix-it on occasion, moving the line that needed him the most instead of being a mainstay in the top six or as a player with a defined role on a checking line. That mayhem caused his overall possession numbers to slide, in this blogger's estimation.
30 points in 62 games was in line with the modest totals he put up with his specific role in Boston - and you'd like to think he could do more in Ruff-Year-Two as the team's identity comes into even sharper focus and Jim Nill has a chance to ply his craft this summer.
But it's all up in the air - from the life of this man and his family to (callously) the salary cap implications of a would-be retirement.
Maybe we skip the poll on this one and agree that his ability to kiss his children and wife goodnight on a daily basis means that Rich Peverley is an A+ in everyone's book.
Consider that the Stars needed every last blasted point they earned to make the playoffs. Consider Rich Peverly's awesome contribution to that cause in Detroit...