Oh goodness, things are going wrong in Dallas.
Most hockey fans have heard by now of how Stars president Jim Lites ripped into his guys Friday, calling out Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for their presumably abysmal play.
The short form is that Lites, hired back when Tom Gaglardi bought the team in November of 2011, went a little nuts with reporters in Dallas and launched the tirade to end all tirades. He held nothing back with respect to the two highest-paid players.
You can find the expletive-laden rant in The Athletic or almost anywhere else at this point, but the gist of it is clear: Benn and Seguin are “terrible” according to the president of the team.
According to Lites, his assessment mirrors that of Gaglardi. The owner doesn’t know what’s going on with his top players.
Benn has 30 points in 38 games, while Seguin has 32 points in 38 games. Seguin leads the team in scoring, but is tied for 57th overall at press time.
“If 14 (Benn) and 91 (Seguin) 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 Stars are 19-16-3 following a victory over the Nashville Predators Thursday. That was the game that saw goalie Anton Khudobin slam the door on 49 shots.
With this unbalanced diatribe in the water, things will go from bad to much worse for the Stars. The team was holding the last wild card spot out in the Western Conference, but you have to imagine the upshot of Lites’ rant has the potential to sink this club for the conceivable future. While you don’t have to “kid glove” a team if they’re performing poorly, you also don’t have to go off like a stormy maniac.
Yes, the president is taking up for the owner. That’s a comprehensible part of the game; the pyramid protects itself. Lites doesn’t want to introduce the idea of firing of Jim Nill and he’s been through the coaching carousel enough times in the last years. It isn’t as if his “criticism” lacks merit.
But to seek out the press in order to attack hockey players in a fashion that should make even the Ottawa Senators look good? That’s hardly productive. It is the beginning of something for the Stars, something that sounds and feels an awful lot like the end for more than a few pieces of this perplexing puzzle.