O Captain! My Captain!
by Ivan Dawkins @ikingdawk / Journalist
Stars Captain, Jamie Benn returns to the lineup this evening for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals after a 2-game suspension for cross-checking Golden Knights' captain Mark Stone in the head/neck area during Game 3 of the series. The NHL Department of Player Safety made the announcement the following day. Cap was ejected and assessed a cross-checking five-minute major penalty, approximately two minutes into the first period. The major penalty & the most abysmal on-ice performance of the series that followed landed the Stars in a 3 games to-0 deficit. Very few national and local experts have given the Stars a chance to overcome. Some local media have claimed that Coach Pete DeBoer references the quote originally made by South African theologian and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu: “There’s only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” However, it was yours truly that posed this quote to the coach after Game 3. I asked if that would be his approach with the team and if he thought it would get some traction. Well, with the Stars winning games 4 and 5, I'd say it has definitely gotten some traction.
During the pregame press conference this morning, before Game 6, I followed that question up and provided Coach Pete DeBoer, a couple of bottles of "Texas Pete" Hot Sauce to add some flavor to this daunting elephant consumption. A basic message of Walt Whitman's poem, "O Captain! My Captain!", is that victory comes at a price. The Stars have paid that price in gut-wrenching overtime losses, losing their captain, and the pain that comes with being more physical. In fact, Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They’re a good forechecking team. We need to clean some of that up and emphasize easier (breakouts). Easier said than done sometimes when you’re under pressure.” The Stars have also been much better at winning puck battles. They'll need to stay in this physical lane if they want to extend this series to game 7.
This story was not subject to approval by the Dallas Stars Hockey Team or The National Hockey League.
Ivan Dawkins is a journalist for bs3network.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ikingdawk