Benn adapting to front-line role

Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn smiles while sitting on the bench in the third period of their...

Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn smiles while sitting on the bench in the third period of their NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Dallas, Texas Nov. 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:14 PM ET

With captain Brenden Morrow injured, the Dallas Stars need somebody to step forward in the leadership role.

Jamie Benn may only be 22 — and still playing under his entry-level contract — but it would seem the front-line centre knows where his future lies in the game.

After taking a penalty which led to the Detroit Red Wings first goal and then losing a faceoff on the marker which put the Stars in a 2-0 deficit during Tuesday’s 3-1 loss, Benn stood up and pointed the finger at himself for the disappointing defeat.

“I have to be better than that. I have to take accountability for that,” he told the Dallas Morning News.

Benn also knows to put those disappointments in the past to have the best chance going forward. After all, the Stars are running out of time to turn their season around.

“Our playoffs have already started. We’ve all been there in some sort of playoffs, and we have to find that level, every one of us. We have to stick together and find that level,” he said.

BACKLUND THANKFUL FOR SUPPORT

While his Flames teammates jetted to Dallas for Thursday’s date with the Sars, injured centre Mikael Backlund went on Twitter to thanks fans for their support.

The 22-year-old Swede suffered an “upper-body” injury in Saturday’s shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks and will be out for four to six weeks.

It’s another tough break for Backlund, who missed the first 14 regular-season contests with a broken finger. In between, he registered only four goals and seven assists in 41 outings and was saddled with an ugly minus-13 rating.

“I know I haven’t performed they way I and a lot of people expected and been taking a lot if heat for it,” Backlund wrote Wednesday afternoon on Twitter. “But I love all the support I’ve been giving from you guys last few days. Really frustrating and sucks to be hurt again. Thnx to you all! #CofRed #BestFans.”

SPREADING THE WORD

The Stars, who are trying to renew interest in Big D under new owner Tom Gagliardi, and to do so sent several players to a handful of radio stations in the city for promotional work. The players read promotion lines, did commercials and interviews. Hopefully it adds more people to the seats in what was a great market when the club was a contender.

ICE CHIPS

Amazing what two months can do. On Dec. 15, the Stars were atop the Pacific Division. Now, they’re trying to remain ahead of only Anaheim in the division with just seven wins and a 7-9-1 mark in their last 17 games ... Expect Kari Lehtonen between the pipes for the Stars.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNRandySportak


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