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03/08/2012

Jamie Benn should be on the Stars top power play

ImagesDALLAS - The question from Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan is, "Well, who do you take out?"

My response, "I don't care. Jamie Benn is your best forward, and he should be on your team's top power play unit."

Many thanks to the Stars coach for humoring me this morning after his team went through a morning skate in preparation for a game against the San Jose Sharks. The Stars are in first place in the Pacific Division and won seven of their last eight games.

They aren't doing this because of a killer power play. The Stars' 30 power play goals is second to last in the NHL, and their 14.9 power play percentage ranks 27th. If my math is right, those numbers aren't what the experts call "any good".

Hence my lobbying to put the team's best offensive forward on the top power play unit. Who to take out? Leave winger Loui Eriksson there, and either move or alternate Mike Ribeiro's spot with Benn.

Here is Gulutzan's reasoning why Benn is not on the top unit:

"When you talk about power play units it's more than just your best player has to be on it. There has to be chemistry. That five man unit that is our top unit right now is ... they have run probably 18 percent since the All-Star break."

Let's see if his math is right. Since the NHL All-Star break, the Stars are 9-for-54 on the power play, 16.7 percent. That percentage would put them right around the middle of the NHL.

"When you are having some level of success, stay with it," Gulutzan said. 

Benn also had a little issue of an appendectomy and missed a few games with a deep cut on his leg.

Glen+Gulutzan+Dallas+Stars+v+Phoenix+Coyotes+BbY0vopbcT_l"Everybody talks about power plays at 20 percent, but at this time of year if you can hit at 17 percent or so ... because everything tightens up," he said.

Gulutzan did not think the concept of having Benn on the top power play unit was totally inane, but he is a fan of continuity right now. 

"We don't want to change this right now. But we also feel Benn is a guy who creates very well on his own. He creates a lot on the power play off the rush," Gulutzan said. "We thought Jamie is a guy who can create a little bit on his own, and this creates a little bit of competition among the guys, too."

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Comments

Michael c.

What's your point? Your article is titled "Benn should be on the top PP unit" because the stars are 27th in PP goals, yet Gulutzan's top PP line after the all star break without Benn is in middle of the pack.

Michael c.

What's your point? Your article is titled "Benn should be on the top PP unit" because the stars are 27th in PP goals, yet Gulutzan's top PP line after the all star break without Benn is in middle of the pack.

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