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Dallas GM: Benn ‘won coaching staff over’ at Olympics

Feb 24, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT

JamieBenn2 AP

Jim Nill is excited about what the Olympics could do for Jamie Benn‘s career.

“Benn went out there as kind of the extra guy and he won the coaching staff over,” the Stars GM told the Dallas Morning-News. “His line has been one of the top lines for Canada the last couple games.

“I think this is going to help his game grow on the ice and off the ice, too.”

Benn, the Stars’ captain, came into Sochi as one of Canada’s bottom-six forwards, but quickly emerged as one of its most important. He scored a pair of goals — including the game-winner over the U.S. in the semifinals — and was just one of two Canadian forwards to post a multi-goal effort in the tournament (Jeff Carter was the other.)

Benn finished averaging over 13 minutes per game and, perhaps most importantly, raised his profile as one of the best young forwards in the NHL. At the age of 24, Benn is the leader of a Stars team fighting for a playoff spot and could use this Olympic momentum to carry his team to the postseason for the first time since 2008.

It’s also worth noting that his coach in Dallas, Lindy Ruff, was on the Canadian bench as one of Mike Babcock’s assistants in Sochi. Ruff got to witness Benn’s ascension first-hand, and it’s something Ruff knew could happen prior to the Games getting underway.

“It can be a turning point for a player, I really believe that,” Ruff said. “You get the chance to play in high-pressure games, and you also get to see the best players in our game up close as they prepare for those games.

“It’s a classroom, really, on how to handle yourself at the highest level.”

  1. gbatap - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Since being drafted he had yet to really play in any meaningful games. Now he has the experience of a high pressure atmosphere which will help him be a better captain to his team of other young inexperienced guys when/if they make the playoffs. Great tournament for Benner, really proud of him.

  2. joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Benn will be one of the young stars that will see his game and maturity grow from playing for Babacock, and with leaders such as Crosby and Toews. He needs to come out if that timid shell and take his place in the room.

  3. pdmjr - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Benn is on his way, seems like a nice kid.

  4. muckleflugga - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    joey4id

    the room … you know benn’s status in the room

    how

    • joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:37 PM

      Give me a good reason to answer how I know. At age 24, I can tell you that Benn is not one to take center stage. However, he will as he continues to gain maturity. Not an easy task to be captain in the NHL at age 24 when one is timid. Time will take it’s course. Just trust me!

      Joey knows hockey. ;-)

  5. easez1 - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Fluff piece of an article, everyone around hockey already knew how good Benn plays, the only reason for being bottom six by expectation was the depth of the team.

  6. borderline1988 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    Canada’s hockey depth, especially at the forward position, is astounding.

    Looking back, it’s hard to believe anyone actually doubted this team. The roster was full of dominant players, from the first guy off the bench to the last. When the reigning Norris winner cannot get off the bench and the reigning Art Ross winner was added as a replacement player, you know you’re good.

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