Although most of the Hart Trophy debate this season has centered around Braden Holtby and Patrick Kane, Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir is making the case that Stars captain Jamie Benn should take home the hardware.
Benn sets the tone for his team with every aspect of his play. He's a show-not-tell type of captain. When the Stars needs a jolt, he ramps up his physical play (team-leading 146 hits). When a message needs to be sent, he'll drop the gloves. (He's fought St. Louis captain David Backes twice in the past year, winning both times according to Hockeyfights.com.) He handles tougher defensive responsibilities than either Kane or Crosby.
And he's been a remarkably consistent producer, scoring in 54 of Dallas's 78 games. Benn's longest scoreless stretch was four games, from Jan. 2-7, and that was one of just four times all season in which he was held without a point in consecutive games.
Muir also mentions Benn's play following the recent injury to Tyler Seguin.
And he's doing it all when his team needs him most. The Stars took a big hit earlier this month when Tyler Seguin, then the NHL's third-leading scorer, was lost for the regular season with a torn Achilles tendon. It was an injury that easily could have hobbled Dallas' offense and derailed the team's bid for a division title. Instead, Benn has ramped up his game to meet the challenge. Compare that response to the recent play of Kane, who has one goal and five points over his past 10 games as Chicago's season slowly unravels.
There's more on Benn and his chance at winning league MVP at the link. [Sports Illustrated]
Before the puck drops, catch up on yesterday's morning skate updates, which included the news that Tyler Seguin will likely begin skating Sunday or Monday. [Stars Inside Edge]
Also from yesterday morning, John Klingberg took a "maintenance day."
@StarsInsideEdge prob still crying after I beat him on FIFA— Carl Klingberg (@CarlKlingberg) April 1, 2016
Mike Heika breaks down how Lindy Ruff's attitude as a player has shaped his career behind the bench. [SportsDayDFW]
Jason Demers gave kudos to the Benn brothers after Thursday's win vs. the Coyotes.
The recent rash of injuries in Anaheim isn't exactly welcome news to Ducks fans. [Ducks]
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith received a six-game suspension.
Chicago's Duncan Keith suspended six games for high sticking on Minnesota's Charlie Coyle. https://t.co/VQFcAr6NWg— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 1, 2016
But did Keith's punishment fit the crime? Adam Gretz is here to tell you how the NHL missed the mark on this one. [CBS Sports]
Sean McIndoe talks concussions, goal calls, and April Fools' Day pranks in his latest grab bag. [VICE]
The Devils had a little fun yesterday.
These days, NCAA goalies are getting more looks from NHL teams. (Of note—Mike Valley chimes in on the issue.) [NHL]
Relive what happened the last time that Canada didn't send a single team to the postseason. [NY Times]
Don't miss this oral history of the "greatest hockey game ever played"—a youth hockey championship match that lasted seven overtimes. [National Post]
Little bit of a weird thing to say but come on Bruins!— Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) April 2, 2016