Greg WyshynskiESPN6 Minute Read
DALLAS — The Dallas Stars defended captain Jamie Benn after he was ejected in the first period of their devastating 4-0 loss in Game 3, which put the Vegas Golden Knights one win away from a Western Conference finals sweep.
With his team already trailing 1-0 in the first two minutes of Tuesday night’s game, Benn knocked Vegas captain Mark Stone to the ice with a check. With Stone on his back, Benn drove his stick down into Stone’s jaw area while falling to the ice himself. The on-ice officials gave Benn a match penalty for cross-checking.
They reviewed the play on a tablet near the penalty boxes and determined the call was correct. Per NHL Rule 59, a cross-checking match penalty can be assessed if the referee believes a player “attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by cross-checking.”
At 1:53 of the first period, Benn skated off to the locker room with a game misconduct penalty. Vegas would score on the ensuing five-minute major power play and again at 7:10 of the first period, chasing Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger after he faced just five shots.
“I’m not sure you could script it much worse,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said of the team’s start.
Benn, 33, refused to speak with the media after the game.
His teammates and coach did speak, defending their captain.
DeBoer said Benn “made a mistake” on the play.
“I don’t think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it. I’m not going to pile on him. He’s been a leader here for his entire career and leads by example every day on and off the ice. He made a mistake. Fortunately, Mark Stone’s OK,” he said.
DeBoer acknowledged that Benn could be looking at supplemental discipline from the NHL for the cross-check. George Parros, director of the department of player safety, attended the game.
“We will live with the consequences, whatever they are. We’ll live with them tonight and we’ll live with them going forward,” DeBoer said. “It’s a reactionary sport. It’s a heat-of-the-moment sport. There’s a lot of stuff going on there on the ice. I’m not judge and jury. I’m not going to play that tonight.”
Forward Tyler Seguin, the second-longest-tenured player in Dallas, after Benn, said there was “zero” frustration with the captain in the locker room. “Jamie’s one of the, if not the, best captain in this league and top leader. Collectively, we lost as a group,” he said.
Dallas forward Joe Pavelski concurred.
“He was tied up and engaged and went for a little extra. Emotions get the best of all of us at some point,” he said.
Pavelski was a captain himself for four seasons with the San Jose Sharks. Was he at all disappointed in Benn?
“No. You guys ask if I’m disappointed in the guy I have so much respect for? Who battles so hard? I have no problems with [Benn]. We have to be better from there,” he said. “We’re in…
Read More: ‘He made a mistake’: Stars back Benn after costly ejection 2023-05-24 05:15:00