Blessing in Disguise
Earlier this week, Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn announced he would not play for Canada in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
Benn, second in the NHL with 89 points last season, a total which also led the Stars, was originally slated to play for Canada alongside Dallas linemate Tyler Seguin, 10th in the league last season with 33 goals. But with Benn having surgery in July, there was little wiggle room in his recovery to be ready for the World Cup of Hockey, which starts in mid-September.
In July, Benn signed an eight-year contract extension to the tune of $76 million, ensuring he will remain in Victory Green for the foreseeable future. However, just before the Benn extension was announced by Dallas general manager Jim Nill during a fan event at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas, the Stars issued a press release saying their captain had undergone surgery.
Benn suffered a core muscle injury during offseason workouts, an injury which required surgery. During his first media availability since the surgery and also since inking his extension, Benn sounded like someone who had no doubt he would be able to play in the World Cup of Hockey.
Sure, the timeframe for him to make a full recovery from his surgery and ramp up his fitness level in time to make that first practice with Canada in early September was tight, but Benn was hopeful and confident he would be able to make that happen, but that will not be the case.
However, not having No. 14 participating in the World Cup of Hockey isn’t a bad thing. For one, it will take the pressure off Jamie in his recovery, so he no longer feels he has to push the process a bit harder if he ever did that anyway, so he can be ready to suit up for Canada.
Dallas, who finished last season atop the Western Conference and won its first division title since 2006, also won its first playoff series in a decade before losing in the second round to St. Louis in seven games.
The Stars will already have four players skating in the World Cup of Hockey: defenseman Esa Lindell (Finland), young center Radek Faksa and veteran forward Ales Hemsky (Czech Republic) and noted antagonist Antoine Roussel (France).
And it’s a fair argument that besides Seguin, there isn’t a more important player on the Dallas roster in terms of keeping him healthy and upright the entire season than Benn.
Durability hasn’t been an issue with El Capitan this far as Benn played in all 82 regular-season games last season, the second straight season he’s done so and he skated in 81 of 82 two seasons ago, so why tempt fate?
Because in a sport where an 82-game regular-season schedule is nothing short of a brutal grind, giving Jamie Benn a bit extra time to recover and be at his best to start the season October 13 against the Anaheim Ducks is definitely a sound strategy.