If you were to design the ideal hockey player from scratch, what attributes would you look to include?
Size? Skating? Hands? Determination?
All of the above?
To the best of our knowledge, Jamie Benn is a real human being (and a Real Hero) born from real human parents, not some sort of cybernetic hockey-playing machine cooked up in a lab by an evil scientist. And yet, Benn is arguably the closest example that you could find in the NHL of a complete hockey player.
Hockey fans were treated to a pristine example of Benn's on-ice prowess in the Dallas Stars' 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. Up 1-0 midway through the third, Benn exploded out of the defensive zone, corralled a puck from his skates in mid-flight and beat Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk with a silky breakaway goal on the backhand:
If you're Dubnyk in this situation, seeing the big Benn barreling down at you, two possible scenarios likely jump into your head as the most probable: heavy wrist shot aimed for a high corner, or a big, sweeping move to the backhand. Instead, Benn decided to do neither, showing his finesse side and threading a soft backhand right through Dubnyk. Dubnyk didn't seem to be expecting that, which, of course, was exactly what Benn was hoping for.
Also, a stick-tap to Cody Eakin on the play as well, for executing the billiards-style bank pass that sprung Benn in the first place.
Make that now two goals for Benn in the series. If you're a betting person, don't expect it to be the last.