Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites did not hold back when he was asked about struggling star players Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the wake of the team’s 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday. He wants more from his star players!
“They are f—ing horse——, I don’t know how else to put it,” Lites told The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro. “The team was ok. But (Tyler) Seguin and (Jamie) Benn were terrible.”
His comments were made public when he was asked about team owner Tom Gaglardi and how he felt about the club this season. Right before Lites went off, he explained that Gaglardi is unhappy with the club's performance.
“He’s pissed,” Lites added. “And you know what it’s about.”
Captain Benn is currently in his second year of an eight-year, $76 million contract and earning $13 million this season (with a $9.5 million cap hit), making him the third-highest paid player in the NHL this season. In 38 games this season, Benn has put up 15 goals and a total of 30 points. His teammate Seguin, who signed an eight-year, $78.8 million extension in the fall that goes into effect next season, has tallied 11 goals and 21 assists through the same 38 games.
It does not seem to be enough for Lites and Gaglardi.
“These guys are not good enough," Lites continued. "They’re not good enough for me, they’re not good enough for the owner, and they’re certainly not good enough for the general manager, who I can’t speak for, but it’s not good enough for the job he’s done.
But we’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting. The accountability on the ice is not there. 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.”
When asked if he regretted handing out such hefty contracts to the two players, Lites made it clear it wasn't about the money.
“It’s not about how much money; I don’t resent the money,” Lites said. “It’s about what we expect the money to be. You just can’t win if your best players aren’t your best players. And they aren’t best players."
Benn and Seguin are expected to do better, especially with such a strong message that has gone viral in the past hour. However, both players agree they need to perform better to help the team and make the Stars a contender once again.
“Not good enough,” Seguin said, according to The Athletic. “I’ve got to play better. I’m trying to do a job, and I haven’t had the right results.”
“I think it’s pretty self-explanatory; if this team wants to get to the next level that starts with myself,” Benn added. “And that’s exactly what needs to happen, we need to get better.”
Lites surely wanted the message to clear and you better believe players know what the deal is. And if you wonder about Lites and the fear of being hated by players, we can only tell you, you have nothing to worry about.
"I take a lesson from Bob Gainey here," Lites said. "He said you’d be really successful in this league if you never gave a shit about being invited to players’ daughters’ weddings, and that’s what I think. I don’t give a f---. I’m a year-to-year guy and I’ll be damned if a guy who has been as good to me as Tom Gaglardi - as good to this franchise - isn’t getting results, and those players aren’t getting it done. I’m telling you, we are gonna run through a GM who does everything he can to make the team better because we aren’t getting results."
The Stars face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. We will see if Benn and Seguin got the message from Lites...