Stars captain Jamie Benn skated just 42 seconds before he was ejected from Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
There’s a chance he doesn’t play again this season for Dallas.
Benn was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his cross-check on Golden Knights captain Mark Stone in Game 3.
The Dallas veteran received a five-minute major and a game misconduct just 1:53 into the contest on Monday night after he cross-checked Stone in the face. The two got tangled up in the neutral zone, causing Stone to fall. Benn elected to give the Vegas winger an extra jab, shoving his stick down into Stone’s jaw and driving his head into the ice.
Jamie Benn was assessed a 5-minute major penalty for cross-checking Mark Stone. pic.twitter.com/LBHHgVsq5T
— ESPN (@espn) May 24, 2023
Benn’s ejection was part of a horrid Game 3 for Dallas. The Stars gave up a goal 1:11 into the contest, and then seconds later, the Benn penalty gave the Golden Knights a five-minute power play that resulted in Vegas extending its lead to 2-0.
Vegas went on to win 4-0 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead heading into Game 4 on Wednesday night.
“I don’t think anyone in the building feels worse than (Benn) does about it,” Stars head coach Peter DeBoer said after the game. “I’m not going to pile on him. He’s been a leader here for his entire career and leads by example every day on and off the ice. He made a mistake. Fortunately, Mark Stone’s OK.”
Benn declined to speak with the media after the game, reportedly a decision he made, not the team. He did meet on Wednesday and gave his side of the encounter with Stone.
Jamie Benn just spoke to the media. Said he wished he wouldn’t have fallen on Stone and used his stick “as a landing point.”
That’s not how that play looked to me…
Also said he has not spoken with Stone.
— Jamie Hersch (@JamieHersch) May 24, 2023
“Obviously didn’t want to take a five-minute penalty, but when the game happens fast, emotions are high,” Benn said. “Obviously I would’ve liked to not fall on him and I guess use my stick as the landing point.”
With Dallas on the brink of elimination, losing Benn means that the club will have to fight to keep their season alive without their captain.
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The Sporting News has the latest on Benn and his potential discipline.
Jamie Benn suspension
Benn has been suspended two games for his cross-check on Stone following a hearing on Wednesday with the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Dallas’ Jamie Benn has been suspended for two games for Cross-checking against Vegas’ Mark Stone. https://t.co/YBf8qihuCh
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 24, 2023
He will miss Game 4 of the Western Conference Final and if the Stars force a Game 5, he will not be available for that contest either.
If Dallas is eliminated in Game 4, then the suspension would carry over into the start of the 2023-24 season and Benn will be forced to sit out the season opener.
The Stars certainly seemed like they were preparing for a potential suspension for Benn, based on DeBoer’s comments after the game.
“We will live with the consequences, whatever they are. We’ll live with them tonight and we’ll live with them going forward,” DeBoer said. “It’s a reactionary sport. It’s a heat-of-the-moment sport. There’s a lot of stuff going on there on the ice. I’m not judge and jury. I’m not going to play that tonight.”
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With Benn suspended, it is the fifth ban handed out by Player Safety this postseason. In the first round, Leafs forward Michael Bunting was given a three-game suspension, and Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was handed a one-game ban.
Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse each were hit with a one-game suspension in their second-round series.