Peverley returns to play 'best friends in hockey'

Peverley returns to play 'best friends in hockey'
November 5, 2013, 12:00 am
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One has to feel a little bit for Rich Peverley.

The versatile forward spent three years with the Bruins and was a valuable member of the Stanley Cup winning team, but he’s also in the background in his return to Boston as a member of the Dallas Stars. That’s because Peverley was traded along with Tyler Seguin to the Lone Star State back in July, and much of the focus has been trained on the 21-year-old in his first game back.

But Peverley carved out his own niche as a speedy third line winger capable of playing in all situations, and more than able to win the majority of his face-offs while playing with Chris Kelly. The 31-year-old did struggle last season with the Bruins, and knew he was likely on the way out after finishing with six goals and a minus-9 rating in 47 games last season.

So he wasn’t surprised to be traded with the Bruins facing some major salary cap decisions, but the circumstances of his move to Dallas certainly weren’t anything he could have predicted. Peverley clearly knew he was on the trading block once last year’s run to the Cup Finals was over.

“It’s a lot of fun coming back. I played here for three years, I won a Cup here and I loved my time here,” said Peverley, who got together with a group of his ex-Bruins teammates on Sunday. “There are a lot of guys over there [in the B’s dressing room] that I’ve developed lifelong relationships with, and they’re some of my best friends in hockey.

“But I wasn’t surprised [by the trade]. I knew the team had to make some decisions last summer. Unfortunately, Tyler and me were the guys to go, but there are no hard feelings. You wish them the best, and now I’m focused in being in Dallas. I was a little surprised that Tyler got traded. I think everybody was.”

Peverley got off to a slow start in Dallas after a heart procedure was required during training camp to make him physically fit for playing, and he’ll actually need a heart-related surgery once this season is over.

“It’s an issue that I think I had a little bit last year too,” said Peverley, who said it manifested itself with massive fatigue when he exerted himself physically. “I’ll have to have it corrected, and have a surgery over the summer.”

But despite all of that he’s still got two goals and seven points in 13 games while getting used to his new surroundings. Peverley and Seguin have brought a ton of speed to the Dallas lineup while it’s also been readily apparent this Bruins group isn’t quite as fast as last season.

“He missed a good chunk of the preseason and missed the first game with his medical issues, so he’s been a little up and down,” said Dallas coach Lindy Ruff. “But you’ve got to give him some time. He’s had some nights where he’s been great for us in the face-off circle, and we’ve had him in special teams work. He can play both sides, and he can play in really key situations for us.”

The best outcome for Dallas: extended minutes and ice time in all situations could allow Peverley to get back to the player that posted 22 goals and 55 points for the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2009-10 before getting traded to Boston. He was never able to produce at that level for the Black and Gold during his three seasons, but Peverley always brought a lot to the table with his understated combination of speed, grit and intelligence on the ice.