Dallas Stars Daily Links: Jamie Benn, Man Of Mystery

The Captain is still an enigma after all these years. Sean Shapiro can tell you why, sort of. Plus, the Stars are storming the Fan Choice Awards, Klingberg and Faksa take on the IIHF Worlds quarterfinals, and more.

Time flies: Jamie Benn has just completed his 10th season with the Dallas Stars. During that time, he’s evolved from a Mike Modano apprentice, to the rallying point for both team and fans, to the high-profile target of a profane front-office diss. Which Benn will prevail?

For his latest article Sean Shapiro goes back to “Sochi Benn” – the Benn who took the 2014 Winter Olympics by storm with a performance that vaulted him into the pantheon of the best players in the world. And he addresses some of the questions about leadership and effort that the front office may be confronting about the face of the franchise:

Believe it or not, Benn sets the tone in the Stars locker room. He’s the undisputed leader. His is not a rah-rah type leadership approach; it’s more reserved, and there’s an aura that Benn is willing to go through a wall for anyone else wearing victory green. He would never ask a teammate to do something he wouldn’t....

When Stars coach Jim Montgomery needed the team to buy in to his system and embrace a more defensive approach around the All-Star break, Benn was one of the key voices who made sure the message stuck. Benn’s play can be questioned, and that’s fair, but his leadership has never been in doubt among those within the locker room or coaches’ offices.

The Stars, however, aren’t paying Benn such a massive sum of money for leadership. That money is a reflection of what the Stars believed Benn would be when it came to helping put pucks in the net.

Was Benn dealing with an injury this season? Or does his declining production reflect the more general effect of Beast Mode on a nearly 30-year-old body? Shapiro examines how Benn seems to be managing a workload that may take more of a toll than the Captain will ever admit:

...There are nights when Benn seems to coast through the motions, only really dialing in when the other team “pokes the bear” or riles him up. More and more teams have come to realize that, when this happens, it’s best to leave Benn alone. Otherwise, they’ll get a dose of “Sochi Benn,” who can still come out in spurts.

“You watch [Tyler] Seguin and [Alexander] Radulov, they bring it every single night. The effort is always there,” an NHL scout said. “That doesn’t happen with Benn. He doesn’t bring the same effort every night and I wonder if that’s a physical thing. Is it best for his recovery and body if he has a so-called off night every seven or eight games?

“And maybe that’s what happened in Game 6 and 7 against St. Louis. Because he brought it in the first round and early on against the Blues. But when your body is used to taking off every 10 games and going through the motions, I would think by Game 6 – what was that, their 12th game? His body was asking for that easier night.”

There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]

Stars Stuff

This is your daily reminder that John Klingberg and Radek Faksa are still playing high-level hockey as Memorial Day weekend approaches.

Are you doing your part to help the Stars win the offseason? Ben Bishop is up for another spectacular honor in the NHL Fan Choice Awards.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to vote for the inimitable Anton Khudobin’s stunning Harry Potter-themed mask.

You know this was the best team video, and it would appear NHL.com does, too....

Around The League(s)

The St. Louis Blues face the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals, and who else is rooting for the Giant Meteor scenario?

Patrick Sharp and the rest of the crew give a video preview.

A couple of fans could be the big winners if the Blues close the deal.

You may not even know why you hate the Bruins. You’re not alone. The HNIC crew talks about it in a new podcast.

What becomes of the San Jose Sharks now that their run is over? Matt Larkin sums up what is bound to be a heartbreaking offseason for the team and their fans.

Also at THN: Steven Ellis chooses the summer’s top RFA forwards, from Mikko Rantanen to Timo Meier.

Team USA meets Team Russia in today’s quarterfinals action at the 2019 IIHF Worlds. Lucas Aykroyd looks at five big questions as the tournament enters its final stages. [IIHF]


Team Great Britain won a ticket to next year’s tournament at the 2019 Worlds. But Luke Ferrara probably won fantasy league. Enjoy.