NHLPA comes to defense of Seguin, Benn in statement

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The NHLPA has come to the aid of two of its players, labeling comments from the mouth of Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites toward forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn both “reckless and insulting.”

In a written statement released to the media on Sunday, the players’ union said that saying Lites’ conduct is unprofessional would be a “gross understatement.”

The full statement can be read here:

The NHLPA’s defense of two of its own stems from comments that emerged out of Dallas on Thursday.

In an interview with Sean Shapiro of The Athletic, Lites went on a tirade, using several expletives to describe the play of Seguin and Benn this season, including saying they have been “f—— horse s—” and that team’s owner Tom Gaglardi is “pissed” about it.

The comments have been the talk of the league since.

As surprising as they were to hear on Thursday, it’s not surprising at all to see the NHLPA stand up for its players. Regardless of who’s right here, the NHLPA was always going to take the side of those they represent.

The debate surrounding the public nature of the outburst will rage on, but it’s hard to argue that the comments were not unprofessional. It’s almost unprecedented to hear something like that coming from the top of the food chain in any sport.

That being said, it sure seemed like it worked, with the message getting across to the lackluster Stars, who won 5-1 against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in their first game since the tirade.

It’s not the next couple of games that will determine whether or not Lites’ words were heard though, but rather the next few weeks and the coming months.

That’s the real test.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck