Stars should take ‘C’ from Jamie Benn, whose actions, and words, are beneath the honor
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is a captain in name only.
That honored distinction in hockey should go to veteran Joe Pavelski. Pavelski is more of a captain than anyone else on the Dallas Stars roster.
Nothing Benn did in the Stars’ Game 3 loss should destroy his legacy with the only franchise he’s played for, but it will leave a mark as wide as Interstate 30.
On Wednesday, the day after the Stars lost 4-0 in Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series against Las Vegas, the NHL announced that Benn will be suspended two games for his beyond-stupid hit on Golden Knights forward Mark Stone.
Vegas goes for the sweep on Thursday at the American Airlines Center in Game 4.
Benn met with the media on Wednesday and ... didn’t say much. He did say more than he did after Game 3, which was nothing.
Benn bounced the arena after the game before talking to reporters. He let Pavelski to talk for him.
Someone with the Stars should have stopped Benn before he left the arena and told him he had to deal with it after the game rather than to wait.
This isn’t about accommodating a bunch of us self-important reporter types who take ourselves too seriously. This is about owning your role to the ticket-buying customer in a disaster that you helped to create.
This is all out of character for Benn, who has been a wonderful pro and good captain in his long run with the Stars.
Less than one minute after Vegas scored the game’s first goal, Benn went all-in on galactically stupid.
Benn cleanly knocked Stone to the ice, and that wasn’t nearly enough. Benn took his stick with both hands and jumped into Stone’s chest to finish an awful cross check into a vulnerable player.
This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a “Whoooooooooops! I fell into your chest with my stick into your body. My bad.”
What is Jamie Benn doing here? Dirty play. 5-minute major & a game misconduct is the right call. pic.twitter.com/5ycSZsmnfx
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) May 24, 2023
Benn was given a game misconduct, and he was done. The Golden Knights scored on the five-minute power play.
“Emotions were high and it was an unfortunate play,” Benn said Wednesday.
He means it was unfortunate that the referees called a game-misconduct and handed Vegas a five-minute power play.
It can’t be unfortunate when it was deliberate.
“I think I need to just be more responsible with my body and my stick. I put my team in a tough situation,” he said.
The Stars could not afford to lose Benn, one of their top six forwards who has the ability to carry a team with a dynamic shift, or period, or two.
They will likely be without forward Evgenii Dadonov, who left Game 3 with a “upper body/lower area/mid torso/foot region” injury.
This is all a terrible look for a great player, and professional, who is not having a good week.
The Stars have taken away the “C” before. They actually took the “C” away from Mike Modano, the most decorated player in the history of the franchise, in 2006 to give it to Brenden Morrow.
Morrow wore it from 2006 to 2013, when the letter was handed to Benn.
Benn played all 82 games during the regular season and scored 78 points, his most productive year since 2017-’18. He’s 33, and has two more years left on his contract.
The Stars are not dumping Jamie Benn. Nor should they.
It has been no secret that Pavelski has been more of a captain over the last few years more than Benn. Pavelski is one of the most respected, and revered, players in the NHL; everyone listens to this man.
Pavelski is also 38, and at this point in his career it’s doubtful he cares to wear the C any more.
But if Benn wants to keep that honor, he should try to live up to it.