Jamie Benn Leading By Example
WINNIPEG, MB – FEBRUARY 14: Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars celebrates his second period goal against the Winnipeg Jets with teammates at the bench at the MTS Centre on February 14, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)
It has not been a season to remember. Thankfully though, not all hope is lost. A rare bright spark took place amongst what has been a fair miserable campaign to date for the Dallas Stars. Captain Jamie Benn picked up his 500th NHL point with a goal on Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
It was a fantastic goal mostly due to the brilliant work of Jason Spezza and it was Benn’s 9th goal in his last 16 games since returning from injury. The captain’s form has been scintillating of late in trying to somehow inspire his teammates to make a run at a playoff spot which is looking increasingly less likely with each passing day.
As any great leader should do though, Benn is taking it upon himself to do everything he can to get his team back in the thick of the race. Whether it be injuries, goal posts, inconsistency or any other factor you could think of though, something is just not clicking for the Stars this season. If a turnaround is to take place, it must start with the attitude of the team. They really have to believe they can win games. Last season the team always found ways to win whereas this year they seem to instead find ways to lose. This has to change.
Benn himself was a victim earlier in the year and really looked a shadow of the player who averaged 87 points over the past two seasons which included winning the Art Ross in 2015. He had only 10 goals in 38 games on the season prior to this explosion and the lingering effects of yet another major off season surgery seemed to have hobbled him.
It would have been extremely easy to pack it all in but he shows no signs of giving up the chase at all. The Stars will need every bit of his A game if they are to somehow rebound at this late juncture. The odds are stacked against them and I mean that very literally.
According to www.sportsclubstats.com, the Stars have just a 1.6% chance of making the post season. Now thankfully, hockey is not played on a stats sheet but that is a scary number. There are however 24 games left and the Stars sit on a lowly 54 points.
The run they would need to go on does need to be something pretty special but of course that is why we love sports. Until the games are actually played, really anything can happen. The Stars are capable of a big run as they displayed last season though their form this campaign has obviously not backed up that claim at all.
The most concerning matter for the Stars is that 13 of their remaining games are on the road where they have been truly abysmal this season (7-17-4). Their home record of 15-9-6 is respectable but the fact remains that at this current pace even if they played all their games left at home they still probably wouldn’t have enough points to make the playoffs.
Therefore, if you are a pessimist then I suggest you look away until next season. However, if you believe yourself to be an optimist then keep on watching. Stranger things have certainly happened. With Jamie Benn hitting top form, Tyler Seguin still performing at elite level and Jason Spezza and John Klingberg ably supporting the offense, this team is certainly capable of going on a couple of lengthy winning streaks. They need to find their form of last season before it is too late. There appears to be no doubt that their captain will not give up the chase without a fight.