Over the summer when the preliminary invitees were announced for the Canadian Olympic team, a few names were left off the list. This fact in itself should not have surprised anyone, as Canada has a wealth of talent on all sides of the puck. However one exclusion left a few pundits scratching their heads.
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was not invited to a team that was going to feature his own coach, Lindy Ruff, behind the bench. Benn was arguably snubbed and stated after the fact that he was going to work hard to make the selection team realize they made a mistake, essentially promising to play so well they would be forced to take him to Sochi.
Through almost the first quarter of the season, Benn is on the right track to earning an Olympic invitation. He is second on the Stars in goals (seven) and leads the team in assists (15), points (22), plus/minus (nine), and shots (62). His 22 points currently rank ninth in the entire league, tied with Tyler Seguin, Alex Ovechkin and Joe Thornton. His 15 assists are sixth in the league.
Benn’s play is more than just the points, however. He has taken the defensive side of the game to another level, not only holding top opponents in check, but out producing them regardless of whether the matchup is on home ice or not.
Now I am an American, and will be definitely cheering on the red, white and blue of Team USA when they go to Sochi in February. As an American, I hope the Canadian squad leaves Benn off the roster because I have seen the way he can dominate a game when he wants to. He has the ability to do it all. He can hit, skate through an entire team and burn a goalie or draw the coverage to him and find a wide open teammate, all while keeping the opponents top line in check. Based on his play almost a quarter of the way through the season, Benn is making good on his promise to play his way onto the Canadian Olympic Team.
Read more from Dustin here.