“They are f—ing horses—, I don’t know how else to put it,” Lites told reporters Friday, according to The Athletic. “The team was OK. But Seguin and Benn were terrible.”
Benn, who is making $13 million this season, leads the team with 15 goals to go with 15 assists. Seguin, who signed an eight-year, $78.8 million extension, is tied for second on the team with 11 goals, and he has 21 assists.
“For me, it’s pissed me off,” Lites said. “What nobody says is what is completely obvious to me: We are getting terrible play from our top two players. … We are a stars-driven league, and our stars aren’t getting it done.
“… These guys are not good enough. They’re not good enough for me, they’re not good enough for the owner, and they’re certainly not good enough for the general manager [Jim Nill], who I can’t speak for, but it’s not good enough for the job he’s done.”
The Stars are eighth in the Western Conference standings with 41 points — just nine points behind current No. 1 Winnipeg — entering Friday’s games.
Seguin scored 40 goals and Benn, the team’s captain, added 36 as the Stars, playing under Ken Hitchcock’s defensive-minded system, fell just short of the playoffs last season. Overall, Benn has 269 goals in his 10 seasons, all with the Stars, and Seguin has averaged just more than 34 goals per season since joining Dallas in 2013.
“We’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting,” Lites said. “The accountability on the ice [from Benn and Seguin] is not there. These guys were signed to big contracts because they were the third- and sixth-leading scorers in the National Hockey League over the past five years. They get their money, we expect them to not be outplayed every game we play in. And if they were as good as they’ve been in the past we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Benn and Seguin told reporters Friday that they haven’t been “good enough” this season and need to play better.
“I think it’s pretty self-explanatory: If this team wants to get to the next level, that starts with myself,” Benn said. “And that’s exactly what needs to happen, we need to get better.”
Said Seguin: “I’ve got to play better. I’m trying to do a job, and I haven’t had the right results.”