A video has been circulating Twitter the last few days with the caption “2010 Jamie Benn was an absolute animal”, a compilation of big hits and fights from the Captain’s early days with the Stars.
Many of the comments are along the lines of “why can’t he still play like that?’. Well, it’s 10 years later for a start, Benn has had double hip surgery and who among us can do the things in our thirties we did in our early twenties? In the last game of the decade for the Stars, however, on Sunday night against Arizona, the Captain still showed that he has game-breaking ability.
The Stars came out slowly once again against the Coyotes, who recently received a huge upgrade in the form of former league MVP Taylor Hall (in a nice degree of symmetry drafted 1st overall in 2010, one before our own Tyler Seguin) and found themselves 2-0 down after one period. Early in the period, the Captain took a huge blindside hit from his opposite number on the Coyotes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, that clearly left him momentarily seeing stars (no pun intended) but as our own Daryl “Razor” Reaugh said on the broadcast, sometimes it’s best not to poke the bear.
From the second period onward Jamie Benn put the team on his back, scoring the first of four unanswered goals for the Stars early in the third and delivering hit after hit, driving the team to a win that was much needed on the second half of a back to back against tough conference opponents. Winning both games after the break helps in the super-tight Central division and also builds some welcome momentum going into the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
Benn is the only player on the current Stars roster to have been around since the start of the decade, soft-spoken and often mono-syllabic off the ice to, at times, the frustration of media and fans, his leadership has regularly been questioned during the Stars more difficult slumps.
He may not be the player he was a decade ago but he is frequently and vigorously defended by current and former players when the question of whether or not he should have the captaincy comes up (former Stars goalie Mike McKenna, now with the Vegas Golden Knights broadcast team, memorably called him a “goddamn amazing Captain”).
Our longest-serving player isn’t likely to be making any Henry V style St. Crispin’s Day inspiring speeches when backs are against the wall but his players seem like they would follow him through hell and that in itself tells us everything about the character of the Captain entering the new decade, and the latter part of his career, that we really need to know.
Featured Image: Dallas Morning News