SAN JOSE -- Todd McLellan could relate only too well to the frightening events Monday night in Dallas that saw the NHL cancel a game after Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapse on his team's bench early in the first period.

"I've lived through that situation with Jiri Fischer in Detroit," said McLellan, who was an assistant with the Red Wings on Nov. 21, 2005 when Fischer, a defenseman, had a similar health problem during a game. "It's a scary thing. It jolts a lot of people."

Both players were taken to the hospital with cardiac concerns; Fischer, now 33, never played again, but holds a front office job with the Red Wings.

Reports said Peverley was resting in a Dallas hospital, undergoing tests to determine what caused the problem.

The two incidents go beyond any injuries during the course of action, McLellan said after his team's morning skate in preparation for Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"As athletes, the players are viewed as almost immortal," he said. "They're tough, they're rugged, they're supposed to fight through things. They get stitched up, they get freight-trained by a hard body check and they're right back out there. Players playing on broken legs, there's stories like that. This is different. This is life or death. It can leave a lasting impact on a lot of people."

Monday night's game between the Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets came to a halt at 6:21 of the first period after Peverley, who did have a history of heart problems, slumped over. About 30 minutes later, the game was postponed — just as it was the night Fischer passed out.

"Nobody wanted to be there anymore," McLellan said. "The players didn't, the coaches didn't. I'm sure the officials didn't, and maybe just as importantly, the fans. I was watching some of that game, and you could see the fans in the stands in Dallas were shook.

"You don't buy a ticket and bring your family to a hockey game to go through that," he said. "That's the last thing you expect."

McLellan indicated the details of that night in 2005 stick with anyone who was there.

"At that moment, when he went limp, everybody realized that something was not right and we needed to get the game stopped, so the guys were throwing bottles and jumping out while the play was going on," McLellan said.

The officials were unaware of what had happened because they were not near the bench, McLellan said, but they did get the message.

"And then immediately the doctors were there, and it was just like last night, the trainers and the doctors that we're exposed to," McLellan said. "They're so good at what they do, they have the ability to save individuals in that situation, and Detroit was the exact same scenario."

Sharks players agreed that ending the game at that point was the thing to do.

"There's bigger things than hockey," said Adam Burish, who played two seasons in Dallas before coming to San Jose, but not with Peverley. "This is fun, this is cool, we have a neat job that we do, but there's a lot more important things going on than hockey. Obviously somebody's life it absolutely more important than any game on a Monday night. The NHL handled it well, too."

Players said the stakes are just too high to start focusing on hockey again the same night.

"I saw Trevor Daley on the bench with his head down, crying," Burish said, referring to a Dallas defenseman. "They're a close bunch of guys there too, and they all care about each other."