- Associated Press - Friday, October 8, 2010

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec was in stable condition at a hospital Friday night after collapsing to the ice in the early minutes of the season-opening game against the Washington Capitals.

Thrashers GM Rick Dudley told The Associated Press during the second intermission that the 23-year-old Pavelec had regained consciousness.

“We probably won’t know anything more until after the game,” Dudley said of Pavelec, who lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

Early in the third period, the team released a statement saying preliminary tests failed to determine any serious health problems.

“He’s awake, alert and asking about the score of the game, but will be kept overnight for observation,” the statement said.

There was a whistle at the opposite end when Pavelec tapped his stick on the ice a couple of times, looked toward the Atlanta bench and fell over backward with no one around just 2:25 into the game. His teammates rushed to his aid and immediately called for doctors and a stretcher to be brought to the ice.

Medical personnel worked over him for about 10 minutes before he was wheeled off the ice, appearing to still be unconscious.

The game resumed after a delay of about 20 minutes. Chris Mason took over in goal for the Thrashers and gave up a goal less than a minute later. But Atlanta rallied and was up 3-1 at the end of the second period.

Even though they signed Mason over the summer, the Thrashers believed Pavelec had the potential to develop into the sort of top-flight goalie the team has lacked for its entire NHL history.

He signed a two-year deal in the offseason after going 14-18-7 with a 3.29 goals-against average and two shutouts in 42 games. It was his first full season in the NHL.

Pavelec also was a member of the Czech Republic’s team at this year’s Vancouver Olympics.

The native of Kladno made his league debut Oct 20, 2007, allowing a goal on six shots in one period. He was taken 41st overall by the Thrashers in the 2005 draft. For his career, he is 20-28-7 with two shutouts in 61 games.