Jamie Benn has been the NHL’s most prolific scorer over the past two seasons and he very well could have taken over the World Cup had a core muscle injury not forced him out of the tournament. But as Benn makes his recovery, he knows that there are more important things than a two-week international showdown.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Benn, 27, wasn’t sad to miss out on the tournament. He was one of the first 16 players named to the Canadian squad — a mortal lock to make the team even before the announcement — and was likely set to take on a bigger role after contributed two goals in six games with the national squad during the 2014 Olympics.
“It’s a little bit disappointing,” Benn told Stars Inside Edge’s Mark Stepneski. “I wanted to be there and be part of that team. It’s the first time in 12 years that they’ve done [the World Cup], and I think it’s a unique tournament the way they set up the teams, but I think you have to look at the bigger picture, and that’s being healthy for our season here in Dallas.”
The originally stated recovery time for Benn was six weeks, and the Stars were set to evaluate him at that time and make a decision about his status for the World Cup. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to get healthy enough in time, but he’s not getting down about that. He’s taking a more positive approach, telling Stepneski that his absence from the World Cup simply means he has four extra weeks to train and get ready for the season.
“(The rehab) started off pretty slow like it does after most surgeries,” Benn told Stepneski, “but it is starting to pick up this week, and I am moving forward.”
This past week was his first of on-ice training, and Benn is preparing for what, if recent trends are any indication, could be his biggest season yet. Over the past three seasons, he has scored 34, 35 and 41 goals respectively, with his point totals climbing from 79 to 87 to 89 in 2015-16.
But it could be a bigger season for the Stars overall, too. Dallas won the Central Division this past season, powered by an absolutely remarkable offense that posted 267 goals. Benn was a big part of that, as was linemate Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza and a cast of others who chipped in along the way. The Stars offense added another weapon this past week, too, in Jiri Hudler, so Benn could have yet another target to help bolster his numbers.
Dallas will look to build on that this coming campaign, though, and look to go deeper in the playoffs than this past-season’s second-round defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. Benn will be a big part of that, and while missing the World Cup may be unfortunate, the Stars captain is right that there’s a “bigger picture” to be focused on.
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