Well, everything is bigger in Texas. And as far as expletive-filled rants go, this was a Texas-sized tirade.
Amid growing frustrations with star players Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites aired his exasperation to the media, telling The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro that the play of his top two forwards has been “f—ing horse-(expletive).”
“I don’t know how else to put it,” Lites told Shapiro, referring to the Stars’ 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday. “The team was ok. But (Tyler) Seguin and (Jamie) Benn were terrible.”
The Stars (19-16-3) sit fourth in the Central Division and are clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Since teaming up in 2013-14, Seguin and Benn have been one of the more lethal top-line combos in the NHL. The Stars inked Seguin to an eight-year, $78.8 million extension in September, while Benn is the third-highest paid player in the league, making $13 million this year. Nearly halfway through the season, both players are averaging less than a point per game. Seguin ranks 57th in the league with 32 points, while Benn is 67th with 30 points.
“We are a stars-driven league, and our stars aren’t getting it done,” Lites said. “It’s embarrassing, and no one writes it. Write it!”
“We’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting. The accountability on the ice is not there,” he added. “These guys were signed to big contracts because they were the third- and sixth-leading scorers in the National Hockey League over the past five years. They get their money, we expect them to not be outplayed every game we play in. And if they were as good as they’ve been in the past we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Seguin, who is an alternate captain for the Stars, has hit the post or the crossbar more than anyone else in the league this season, but Lites didn’t seem to care much about that defense of the 26-year old’s play.
“He’s hitting posts, ‘wah-wah.’ That’s what I say about hitting posts,” Lites said. “Get a little bit closer to the action, actually go to the spot where you score goals. He doesn’t do that, he never does that anymore. He used to be a pest to play against, people hated playing against Tyler Seguin, they don’t anymore.”
Tearing your top players to shreds in the media is a bold strategy for sure, but perhaps it was a necessary one for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2009.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images