BOCA RATON, Fla. -- From the time Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench to the time he was taken to the hospital, NHL protocols for medical emergencies were followed exactly how they were supposed to, and it might have saved the Dallas Star forward's life.
Peverley, who has missed games this season because of an irregular heartbeat, had what general manager Jim Nill called a "cardiac event" during Monday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Play was stopped immediately, and Peverley was taken down the tunnel and attended to before being transported to hospital.
The league's emergency medical standards were in place at American Airlines Center as they are in every NHL rink.
That includes having at least two team doctors in attendance and at least one within 50 feet (15 metres) of the bench.
Those guidelines were made uniform in the aftermath of a similarly scary 2005 incident when Jiri Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings went into cardiac arrest.
Quick medical care in that case also helped Fischer stay alive.
The Peverley incident is not likely to lead to dramatic changes in the way NHL teams deal with emergency medical situations because they worked so well.
The current guidelines are spelled out in four pages of specific detail, including the availability of triage facilities, physicians, trainers and ambulances.
Outside the NHL, two similar situations ended in tragedy.
Sergei Zholtok died of a heart ailment while playing in his native Latvia in 2004, while 19-year-old New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov died of heart failure during a 2008 KHL game.