In the end, it was just a publicity stunt.
That’s all you can make of CEO Jim Lites airing out his team’s two biggest stars, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, in the press before he had ever talked to them. It’s hard to think of another CEO, who doesn’t hold GM duties as well, in any sport who decides to go so public with his criticism players on the team. Sure, Jerry Jones might in Dallas as well, and maybe that’s what Lites thought he was doing. Maybe they like blowhards in Dallas. And if you’re in Texas, we guess you have to be the biggest blowhard you can be.
The Stars problem has never been Seguin and Benn, of course. Maybe they weren’t having their career-years, but the main issue is that Lites has let GM Jim Nill create a Top-Of-The-Muffin-To-Ya roster. Jason Spezza is going to be put on display next to Sue at the Field Museum soon enough. Their kids like Janmark, Faska, and Ritchie have done jack and shit. They’ve been injured, but the blue line has John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen and that’s it. He’s been allowed to pick up trash like Jamie Oleksiak and Roman Polak and now Ben Lovejoy.
If this were any other sport, Lites’s tirade would have been met with a response of one finger up from each Seguin and Benn, a trade demand, and scorched future of the entire franchise. But you can’t do that in hockey, and maybe that’s what Lites was counting on. It seems especially harsh on Benn, who has only ever been a Star, the captain, and could have asked out at many points when the team wasn’t up to the standards he has always set.
Maybe he just wanted to make a ripple in a Dallas sports scene where the Stars are falling behind. The ‘Boys will always be #1, #2, and #3. But the Mavericks now have Luka Doncic, and next year when he’s paired with Kristaps Porzingis the Mavs will be one of the more watched teams in the NBA. The Stars have won one playoff series in a decade. It’s now how you keep up.
If the Stars fail to make the playoffs, it won’t be because Seguin and Benn didn’t do everything they could. It’ll be because Lites let a GM fail to back them up for a good five years.
Game #63 Preview Suite