DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley says he is working hard to return to the NHL ice after suffering a heart attack during a game three months ago.

“If I can play, great; if I can’t, then I’ll deal with that at that time,” he told The Dallas Morning News in a telephone interview from his home in Guelph, Ontario.

Peverley had been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat before the season and had a procedure to address the problem. In the 62nd game he played last season, though, he collapsed on the bench when his heart stopped. Team medical personnel quickly moved him off the bench and revived him, he was discharged from the hospital two days later. On March 1, he underwent cardiac ablation surgery and has been recovering since.

An important part of his rehabilitation, he said, has been to increase his workout intensity, and with it his heart rate.

“I’ve been able to do more and use my upper body, so I definitely feel like I’m making progress. But it’s just the start. I have a long way to go,” he said.

The NHL revealed Wednesday that the 31-year-old hockey journeyman will present the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas next week. The award goes to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” It is named after the former the one-time center for the Minnesota North Stars, the Dallas Stars’ predecessor, who collapsed on the ice during a game and died of a brain injury in 1968.

Peverley said he will return to Dallas sometime this summer for follow-up testing by the Stars.

The Stars are being patient with Peverley’s recovery, general manager Jim Nill said.

“I would say he’s being monitored over the next eight weeks just to see where things go and then kind of sit down with the doctors and kind of consult moving forward,” he said.

Rangers buy out contract of Richards

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rangers bought out the contract of veteran forward Brad Richards on Friday, creating much-needed salary-cap space and parting ways with New York’s de facto captain one week after the club was eliminated from the Stanley Cup finals.

Both the Rangers and Richards’ agent, Pat Morris, confirmed the move.

“Tough last few days,” Richards said in a statement released by the team. “I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at MSG in front of great fans. I’ve met many new friends, excellent teammates and staff, and I have memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

“(General manager) Glen Sather, the management and owner, Mr. Dolan, are all class acts. I want to thank them for letting me be a part of New York life and the Rangers family. With this decision finalized, I can now look forward to starting the next chapter in my career.”

The 34-year-old Richards had six years remaining on the nine-year, $60 million deal he signed in 2011, and this move will remove his $6.67 million salary-cap charge. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Richards will receive two-thirds of the remaining money to be paid out over 12 years ”“ a total of $12.6 million.

Richards will also be paid $8 million in signing bonuses over the next three seasons. He didn’t have to clear waivers before the buyout because his contract had a no-movement clause.

The Rangers used their second and final compliance buyout on Richards after using the first on former defenseman Wade Redden last year. They had to be used before July 1.

“We would like to thank Brad for everything he has done for our team on and off the ice during his time here,” Sather said in a statement. “This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of how much respect I have for him.

“Brad’s leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization. We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow. Brad has been a very good player for us and an even better person. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

New York has numerous unrestricted and restricted free agents this summer, and will need as much cap space as possible to bring back key players and perhaps add others on the market.

“We’re going to work on putting a good team on the ice, but every year is different,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Monday when the Rangers cleaned out their lockers. “Next year’s team is going to be different, and you’ve got to go through the same process. It’s going to be a challenge to make the playoffs, and then you take it one series at a time.”

Richards was demoted to the fourth line in the finals against Los Angeles.

“I am a big fan of Brad Richards,” Vigneault said. “He is a classy, classy individual. If you look at Brad’s overall season he had a real good year.”



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