Jamie Benn

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Stars CEO Jim Lites Went Too Far

December 28, 2018 - 9:51 pm

By: Gavin Spittle

Stars CEO Jim Lites crossed the line by calling out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to the media.

Stars owner Tom Gaglardi has confirmed to Pierre LeBrun of TSN that he fully supports the comments and knew that it was coming.

You absolutely can be frustrated. Guess what, we as hockey fans in this area are frustrated as well. Guess who is the first to think they should play better? That would be Benn and Seguin. In fact, both Seguin and Benn said after Friday’s practice that they need to play better.

So Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are the reasons that you’ve only made the playoffs two out of the last 10 years?

Let’s get into your comments that you are frustrated because Stars fans are emailing you five times a day about this? I get complaints all the time about this radio station. How would my staff feel if I made them public? Would they work harder and would they respect me for airing out laundry in public?

If you are going to say as much as Jim Lites did, you might as well tell us if you had closed door discussions and it hasn’t made a difference. At least at that point we know that the team has attempted to handle this internally without results.

Lites mentioned in his tirade on Benn, "He makes plays in the neutral zone that if my kid had done it in squirts, he'd be benched. Am I wrong? He turned the puck over three times yesterday on plays if Denis Gurianov had done that, he wouldn't have seen the light of day.”

Interesting, because Valeri Nichushkin has turned the puck over and hasn’t scored a goal, yet somehow finds himself in the lineup almost every night. So yes, you are wrong because Nichushkin is rarely benched.

Think about it this way in your job. If your boss compares you to his kid, how motivated are you going to be? If someone in the company called your work Horse Sh@#, would you be fired up like never before?

Then to the Athletic, you went on about Tyler Seguin, “He’s hitting posts, ‘wah-wah.” That’s what I say about hitting posts,” Lites said. “Get a little bit closer to the action, actually go to the spot where you score goals. He doesn’t do that, he never does that anymore. He used to be a pest to play against, people hated playing against Tyler Seguin, they don’t anymore."

Funny, because I watch every game and I see Seguin in the same position as last year. I guess we don’t take into consideration that he has become very good on the penalty kill. So the same organization that signed Seguin to an 8-year contract with a no trade clause just months ago doesn’t think he’s as good. Okay, got it.

The fact is, that’s not true. If Tyler Seguin continues on his current pace, he will have 76 points to end the season. Last year, he had 78 points, and the year prior he had 72. Before that, he had 73 and 77 points. If there is a drop off on goals, he is making up for it by being a playmaker.

How about Jamie Benn. If Benn keeps his current pace, he will finish with 74 points. In 2017, he had 79 points, and the year prior in 77 games, he had 66 points.

Those are not huge drop offs. As I mentioned earlier, they are the first to say they need to play better and Stars fans would agree.

If I’m playing the Dallas Stars my game plan is simple. Shut down the top line and I have a good chance to win. Go down the Stars roster. Who scares you?  If I shut down Winnipeg’s 1st line of Ehlers, Scheifele and Wheeler, I still have to face Kyle Connor, Bryan Little and some guy named Patrick Laine. They are not the exception. I’m happy to give you more.

So let’s focus on tomorrow’s morning skate. Do you think the press will be asking about the Red Wings? Will they be talking about the 2-0 shutout against Nashville?  Today’s comments are an absolute unwarranted distraction heading into what I feel is a pivotal part of this season.

Let’s say Benn and Seguin play better tomorrow night. Does Jim Lites and the organization deserve credit? Maybe they just played better.

I’m going to take a guess that Jim Lites has more than five email complaints this afternoon.

You are the talk of the NHL right now. You will be the focus of Hockey Night in Canada tomorrow night. Let’s hope that marquee players and their agents don’t take Lites comments into consideration when deciding if Dallas/Fort Worth should be their future home.