It almost seems as though the first three or four games of the Dallas Stars season has been a sideshow to the drama of getting Jamie Benn signed. That might be appropriate, considering that the future of this team centers around him. In the long run, a few games in a shortened season doesn't mean much -- not when he can be a guaranteed Dallas Star for the next 5 years at a very reasonable contract.
The fans aren't the only ones excited to have him back, either. The players know what that means to the team as well.
News of the signing broke in the second period of the Stars' 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The crowd erupted when it was announced during a break in the action. Players were up to speed on the signing as well.
"Yeah, we saw it," said defenseman Stephane Robidas. "It's really good news. He's a big part of our team. It wasn't a distraction for us, but it's good that now he's with us. We're just happy to have him back and hopefully we'll have him back soon."
But the important thing to remember is that he is not the only piece to the puzzle. The Dallas Stars have also locked up a number of other would be free agents over the last few years as well. Jamie Benn is just the final piece in that puzzle. Joe Nieuwendyk talked about what Benn means in the big picture of this group.
"I am really proud of the fact that we are identifying a core group of players that we think we can build with and win with. Jamie is obviously one of those players," Nieuwendyk said. "To have Loui (Eriksson) signed up and Kari (Lehtonen), (Alex) Goligoski and Trevor Daley, I think it shows guys want to be here, they are committed and we are headed in the right direction. Having a player like Jamie is a big part of that."
If you add in all of the RFAs and young players who are just starting to break into the league, the future of the Dallas Stars seems that much brighter.
Coming up in the daily links: The Stars' TV ratings are up, everyone has their first week analysis, and why Nail Yakupov's celebration wasn't that big of a deal.
- In case you missed it with all of the Benn hoopla yesterday, Razor gave a radio interview on The Ticket. Here's the audio. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Even though the TV ratings for the Stars were somewhat abysmal last year, things certainly seem to be turning around after just 4 games. [Dallas News]
- Vladamir Tarasenko is an excellent rookie for the Blues, and will have to be held in check during the game. if anyone is up to the challenge, it's Loui Eriksson. [Dallas News]
- Todd Maternowski shows up 5 overreactions through the first week of hockey. Bonus points to Todd for Shea Weber's picture. [Thursday Morning Cup Check]
- Meanwhile, Scott Burnside talks about the surprises that no one saw coming in this first week. Including the rash of major injuries breaking out. Everyone predicted groin injuries, but not these. [ESPN]
- Earlier this week, I posted a link that talked about how great it was that teams were fighting off the opening draw. Here's the counterargument to that, talking about why it is an embarrassment it is to the sport. I tend to agree with this one. [Puck Daddy]
- Love him or hate him (okay, no fan really loves him), Gary Bettman has been successful at his job. Otherwise he would have been fired by the owners long ago. Here's a fantastic piece on the man that has molded the NHL for the last 20 years. [The Globe And Mail]
- The Ducks lost their home opener in resounding fashion last night, with the Canucks beating them 5-0. Though the oddest part of the entire thing was probably the pre-game show, where both teams gathered at center ice while Ryan Getzlaf apologized to the fans for the lockout. Uhhh...apology accepted, I guess? (I'll see if I can find video of it for another day.) [NHL/Twitter]
- Today's video of the day is a bonus feature, with a whole TWO videos for you to watch! A lot of people were upset with Nail Yakupov's goal celebration the other night, while others think it will be good for the sport. No matter what side your on, this is nothing new to the NHL. In fact, it's been around for at least 22 years.