Jamie Benn doesn’t miss many games.
The Dallas Stars captain has made a career of being an every-night player, regardless of the circumstances. In the past three seasons, he’s missed just one game (the final night of the 2013-14 season where they held him out for rest against the then-Phoenix Coyotes), and the season before that he played 41 of 48 games after missing the first chunk of a season while negotiating a contract.
He did miss two games in March with a wrist injury that 2012-13 season, the last time he missed a game due to injury. But that streak will end tomorrow as the Stars captain will be out with a foot injury suffered in the New Year’s Eve loss to the Florida Panthers.
Benn was hurt on Patrick Eaves goal when a Florida stick got caught in his skates and saw him awkwardly catch his feet on the ice, twisting around one a little bit. Although he played the rest of the game, coach Lindy Ruff said after the game he’d been banged up and perhaps should have come out of the lineup.
The language at Tuesday’s practice was similar - Benn perhaps could play against the Montreal Canadiens, but it wouldn’t be the best choice in the long-run.
“I think this is a situation where it’s our responsibility to keep him out because he could probably play,” Ruff told the media on Tuesday, “but to what effect he would be and where he would be in a couple days would be a big concern of ours.”
The Stars have another two days off after the Habs game before starting a three-game road trip to St. Louis, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Will that be enough time to get him ready? That depends on the nature of the injury, and the Stars certainly aren’t talking. Patrick Eaves has played on an injured foot most of the season (missing most practices because of it), but Benn has a history of playing through minor dings as well, so if he’s sitting it’s likely on the more serious end.
The Stars won’t need to bring anyone up to replace him, though, as Antoine Roussel will be ready to return to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. With all due respect to Roussel, who is having a heck of a year, it’s still a net loss with Benn out of the lineup (replacing him with anyone other than perhaps Tyler Seguin or Jason Spezza would be), but at least it’s a player with NHL experience.
This is a team that’s had to play a defenseman at forward at least twice this season, after all.