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Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites publicly calls Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin "horse-s**t" players, goes on tirade


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At the top of the Dallas Stars roster sit two franchise cornerstones-- one a homegrown, late-draft find that has blossomed into the captain, and the other a trade acquisition that has become a sniper and now a long-term asset.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are two of the NHL's premier players and the horses that will carry Dallas should Stanley Cup aspirations become reality. In the past, they've helped comprise some of the best lines in the league, boosting a soaring Stars offense. But this season has left the franchise wanting more from its two players under contract for the longest: Benn through 2024-25 and Seguin through 2026-27.

On Friday morning, Stars CEO Jim Lites said the team's ownership and management group has been frustrated by this season so far, in which the Stars are 19-16-3 and loosely gripping the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. They've taken on the conference's best teams. But they've laid eggs against some lesser ones.

 

Lites said this Stars team is one of the best he's overseen in Dallas, noting that he's won both a Stanley Cup and a President's Trophy with the team. The talent on the team excites him, but the results have not.

"But for me, it's pissed me off, what nobody says is what is completely obvious to me: We are getting terrible play from our top two players," Lites said.

Seguin leads the Stars with 32 points on 11 goals and 21 assists this season. Benn is closely behind him with 30 points on 15 goals and 15 assists this season. Benn's 15 goals lead the team, as do Seguin's 21 assists.

But league-wide, the duo sinks down the scoring leaderboard.

Seguin is tied for 57th in the league with players like Alex DeBrincat, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kevin Hayes and Gustav Nyquist. Benn is tied for 67th in the league with players like Zach Parise, Patrik Laine, Tomas Hertl and Jonathan Drouin.

Since Seguin was traded to Dallas in Summer 2013, Seguin and Benn have been two of the league's best players.

From then through 2017-18, Benn was third in the league with 403 points and Seguin was tied for sixth with 384 points. Only Alex Ovechkin had more than Seguin's 173 goals. Only Sidney Crosby separated Seguin's 173 goals from Jamie Benn's 172.

 

"If 14 and 91 don't lead, we will not be successful," Lites said. "I think this is the most talented and deep team we've had in years here. Certainly, this is the best team that we've put together from a talent perspective since Tom Gaglardi's owned the franchise. Tom has allowed us to do everything we needed to do to be successful. Whatever it's taken, he's done. And I am tired of getting emails from him saying 'What the hell is going on with our best players?'"

 

"The frustration I have is there were times where I think 'Geez, we're not getting any secondary scoring.'" Lites said. "But we're not getting any primary scoring."

The franchise has invested more than $150 million in long-term contracts to Benn and Seguin in the last two-plus years. Benn signed an eight-year, $76 million contract in July 2016. Seguin inked an eight-year, $78.8 million contract this September.

Both have no-move clauses through the length of their deals.

"I don't think our guys perform poorly because they have contracts," Lites said. "I think they're comfortable. And I don't know if they see it. What's upsetting to me is that we live it every day. We change coaches. What, we have to change the general manager because these guys won't perform?

"This team shouldn't even be thinking about missing the playoffs. It shouldn't even be an issue. We are too talented, too good, too strong to be performing this poorly."

 

 

"The owner and I see this the same way," Lites said. "We expect our best players to perform like other team's best players, to be accountable, to have attention to detail, to have responsibility on the ice and off and get the job done for us. And it's not getting done. Game in, game out, the best players on other teams are outplaying the best players on our team."

Seguin has been snake-bitten this season, hitting either posts or crossbars 11 times to lead the league. His 7.5 shooting percentage is the lowest in his career, meaning positive regression may be on the way. His scoring chance numbers have been consistent with those from earlier in his career.

But Montgomery previously and Lites now said Seguin isn't getting to the right areas on the ice.

"He's playing on the periphery," Lites said. "I've been in the business forever. I've been with Steve Yzerman in bad seasons, and what you'll find is goal-scoring is a dirty business. You've got to go to hard places. And Tyler, last year, I saw him really perform and get into the difficult spots. This year, I've seen him as a weak forechecker, slow to the action and not getting it done. And he's hit a lot of posts. He's had some bad puck luck. But he's not getting dirty. I don't know what it is. I'm not accusing him of being without character, but we're not getting it done."

As for Benn, six of his 15 goals have come on the power play and he's twice gone seven straight games without a goal. Lites mentioned that Benn is a power forward who's a strong forechecker with great hands, but just wasn't getting the job done.

"Jamie Benn hasn't scored a goal from longer than five feet all year," Lites said. "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. We pay these players to be the best players on our team, and they are consistently out-efforted and outperformed by everybody else's best players."

 

It is unusual for Lites to speak publicaly like this about the Stars, let alone the team's two best players. But he felt a need to hold the players accountable, nearly halfway through the season.

"The coach has to, the GM has to, the owner has to, the CEO has to," Lites said. "I have to frickin' hold these guys [accountable] and be part of the process of getting these guys to play to their best. ... We don't question their desire to win, but they think it's easy, and that's what bothers me. There's just too much complacency in their games. Lack of attention to detail, and that's what we need. Accountability and attention to detail and hard work."

The Stars are entering a critical stretch of their schedule now, with 10 of the next 13 games at home, where Dallas plays much better. They'll spend just five days on the road in the next month. They are finally healthy with the recent return of Klingberg. Montgomery's system should take more hold within the team.

Lites said the next 30 games will define the Stars.

"We're either in it or we're out of it," Lites said.

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2018/12/28/stars-ceo-jim-lites-ask-jamie-benn-tyler-seguin-best-players-teams-outplaying-best-players-team

 

A lot what he says is correct.

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  • Odd. changed the title to Dallas Stars owner Jim Lites publicly calls Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin "horse-s**t" players, goes on tirade
2 minutes ago, Cramarossa said:

I mean...he's not wrong...

Particularly this

 

"Jamie Benn hasn't scored a goal from longer than five feet all year," Lites said. "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. We pay these players to be the best players on our team, and they are consistently out-efforted and outperformed by everybody else's best players."

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4 minutes ago, Rush17 said:

I am from the same hometown as Benn. But I honestly lost all respect for him after their Sedin comments a few years back. 

 

I think he's being honest and correct in his assessment. Guys need to be traded imo. They are trash.

I mean they are in a playoff spot but the problem is this.

 

For what seems to be in forever, Stars finally have solid depth going, with everyone except their leading scorers playing well. At a time where Stars are getting good play from everyone, the two most important players are playing absolutely dog$&!#, and not giving in the effort needed. You can tell when watching these two that they don't really take things seriously at all. This is definitely a wake up call for them.

 

IMO the CEO does not come out as a douche one bit. He's holding those two accountable, as they should. No meddling, just truth.

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19 minutes ago, Rush17 said:

I am from the same hometown as Benn. But I honestly lost all respect for him after their Sedin comments a few years back. 

 

I think he's being honest and correct in his assessment. Guys need to be traded imo. They are trash.

I’ve liked Benn as a player from day one.  He’s a real honest hockey player.  Seguin is a punk.  He always has been, and he always will be.  If he’s expected to be a leader as one of your top dollar guys, that team will not be a winner.  

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Lites said the next 30 games will define the Stars.

"We're either in it or we're out of it," Lites said.

 

 What I read into this is, In other words, GM Jim Nill is probably going to get fired

 

“WTF”

That’s the text that Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites says he gets five times per game from team owner Tom Gaglardi.

It happened again on Thursday night when he was watching the Stars’ 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators.

“He’s pissed,” Lites said on Friday afternoon. “And you know what it’s about.”

“They are &^@#ing horse-$&!#, I don’t know how else to put it,” Lites said. “The team was ok. But (Tyler) Seguin and (Jamie) Benn were terrible.”

The public frustration began during Thursday’s morning skate, when Stars coach Jim Montgomery told the team he was “&^@#ing embarrassed” with the team’s practice and where they were in the standings.

For those in the Stars’ offices, that starts with the captain and the player with more job security than anyone else in the franchise.

“I don’t get...

 

https://theathletic.com/738047/2018/12/28/stars-ownership-benn-and-seguin-holding-team-back/

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If the Stars do end up missing the playoffs, hopefully someone has some dirt on John Klingberg for Benning so he can get him during this fire sale :ph34r:

 

Wonder if the Stars and Kings could get together for a trade??  The Kings have leaders like Kopitar who are also having off years but if they want to get younger and faster maybe they could have interest in either of these guys.

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