Stars' Jamie Benn on CEO Jim Lites' controversial comments: 'I don't play for him'

Stars forward Jamie Benn had a sharp response for CEO Jim Lites’ profanity-laced criticism of Benn and center Tyler Seguin.

On Friday, Lites spoke to reporters about the team’s highest-paid players — Benn and Seguin — and used some colorful language to describe their play this season. 

One day removed, Benn had this to say:

“I read the article, and it is what it is. People have their opinions on the outside, and all it really is is noise. When there is a situation within the organization, I try to keep it within the organization and deal with it face to face. I come to the rink every day and wear the Dallas Stars jersey proudly and play hard for the fans, my teammates.”

Benn added that he doesn’t play for the approval of Lites.

“I don’t play for him. I play for every player in this room, the coaching staff,” Benn said. “I come to the rink, and like I said, I am proud to be a Dallas Star and I am proud to go out every night and battle with these guys in games. I really put my teammates first.”

Benn, who is in his ninth season with the organization, also said his phone was “blowing up like it was my birthday.” He received messages from teammates, former players and other players around the NHL. 

Benn has 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 38 games this season; Seguin has 32 (11 goals, 21 assists). They are the team leaders in points — and salary. Their combined salary this season: a whopping $20 million.

Although Benn leads the team in goals and Seguin in assists, both admit they need to play better after providing little help in the team’s 2-0 win over the Predators on Thursday. It was this game that sparked Lites’ comments.

“I think everyone looks at the numbers, and that’s the easiest thing to look at,” Benn said. “The point production isn’t where it could be or should be or was, so it’s easy to point to that.”

The Stars are fourth in the Central Division with a 19-16-3 record.