The seemingly endless bitterness of broadcasters and coaches regarding Jamie Benn in the first three round of the Calder Cup Playoffs only made the first two wins of this series that much better when the Hershey broadcast had no such crutch to rely upon (like the Hamilton broadcast so shamelessly did before them). Jamie Benn had not killed them single handedly. Not even close.
After game 3, however, the novelty has worn off, and now I don't care what the other teams broadcasters think. I find myself wishing for Texas to once again "dance with the one who brought them," and with 26 points to lead all scorers in these playoffs, there's no doubt that he has brought them.
Which is to say, Jamie Benn, you will be needed back in the goal scoring column. Soon.
Has he been the ultimate ringer? Maybe. Is it unfair that he spent the entire season in the NHL and yet is AHL eligible for this post-season? I don't make up the rules.
Hasn't he done enough already to be safe from criticism? This isn't criticism.
Jamie Benn has done more than his fair share, so it's actually more like a selfish request.
This story is too perfect, and the ride too fun. This franchise, in it's first year of existence is two victories away from winning a title against the league's most storied team. An enormous upset. It's not exactly the consummate media friendly Cinderella story in the NCAA tournament, but for a bunch of Stars fans in June it's doing quite nicely, and we'd like a happy ending. Benn will be instrumental in providing it...
When the puck drops on Wednesday night it will have been a fortnight since Jamie Benn put the puck in the net, which is not to say that he's been without production entirely. 2 assists in 3 games against Hershey are nothing to sneeze at but for Benn the precedent set in the weeks leading to this series is a bit loftier. In 18 games before the Final, Benn averaged 3.44 shots per game and scored 14 goals. A shooting percentage of 20.2%. In this series (and it's admittedly small, flawed sample size) he has taken only 7 shots in three games, thought not for lack of trying. The Stars have been prolific shot blockers (until about midway through game 3) in this series, and Hershey has returned the favor thus far against Benn specifically. (For comparison, he took 2.21 shots per game in the NHL for a shooting % of 12.1. Let's get him some more shots next year, yeah?)
Game by game...
|Rockford @ Texas||1||0||3|
|Rockford @ Texas||0||0||4|
|Texas @ Rockford||2||2||3|
|Texas @ Rockford||0||1||1|
|Texas @ Chicago||1||1||3|
|Texas @ Chicago||0||0||4|
|Chicago @ Texas||0||0||1|
|Chicago @ Texas||0||0||3|
|Chicago @ Texas||3||2||4|
|Texas @ Chicago||0||0||4|
|Texas @ Chicago||1||1||7|
|Texas @ Hamilton||2||0||4|
|Texas @ Hamilton||0||0||2|
|Hamilton @ Texas||1||1||3|
|Hamilton @ Texas||2||0||6|
|Hamilton @ Texas||0||0||2|
|Texas @ Hamilton||0||2||7|
|Texas @ Hamilton||1||0||1|
|Texas @ Hershey||0||0||3|
|Texas @ Hershey||0||1||2|
|Hershey @ Texas||0||1||2|
7 goals at home, 7 away, so location is not an obstacle for him. He's had one three game goal drought before. If he doesn't score on Wednesday this would be his longest streak at 4.
It would be nice if the Texas Stars could slay this dragon without much help from their NHLer. It would be vindicating, in a way, for Gulutzan and his team that have heard the cries of "ringer" at every Jamie Benn goal, but let's face it: They don't care about that now. They want to win, and if the other teams don't like what the rookie is doing, then they can try to stop him.
Perhaps it's not right to put all this on Jamie, but the Dallas Stars fans in us want to see him lead, even if he isn't old enough to drink yet, hasn't spent much time with this team and is playing his 104th game this season. We're selfish that way.
It's the only tangible progress a Dallas fan can see between April 10th and June 25th (the draft). Jamie Benn is by the far the sharpest pencil in the box labeled "Dallas Stars Future." What news is there in the mean time? Has Mike Modano decide yet? Nope. The team still owned by Hicks? Yep. Are they still spending $10-12 million under the cap next season? You bet ya. And the defense? ..."The huh?"
All of that stuff still stinks, but this kid is like a fountain of hope. WHL championship, World Junior Championship, Memorial Cup Finalist, 20+ goal rookie season in the NHL at only 20 years old, and now potentially a Calder Cup added to all of it. The young man is a winner, plain and simple.
Let's get him into the NHL playoffs some time, shall we?