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Stars' Benn, Seguin await Olympic word from Canada

by Dan Rosen

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Jamie Benn was disappointed and angry over not getting an invitation to Canada's Olympic orientation camp this past summer. He thought he had done enough to at least get invited to the camp, but Canada executive director Steve Yzerman and his staff thought differently.

The question now is has Benn done enough through 41 games this season to convince Yzerman and company that he belongs at the 2014 Sochi Olympics anyway?

Benn and teammate Tyler Seguin have played their way onto the radar for the Canadian Olympic team and could hear their names called Tuesday, when Hockey Canada announces the roster at an 11 a.m. ET press conference in Toronto.

Seguin leads the Stars with 21 goals and 41 points. Benn leads them with 22 assists and is second with 36 points.


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They don't have any expectations even though both will turn their focus to the Olympic announcement after playing the New York Islanders on Monday.

"I just wanted to come out here and let my play do the talking for me," Benn told Monday morning from Nassau Coliseum. "I'm not going to campaign myself for that team."

He doesn't have to.

Dallas general manager Jim Nill has done some of that campaigning for Benn and Seguin. He said he has talked about Benn and Seguin to Yzerman, Canada coach Mike Babcock and Ken Holland, the Detroit Red Wings general manager who is on Yzerman's Olympic management staff, at various points this season. Nill used to work with those three in Detroit.

It also doesn't hurt that Stars coach Lindy Ruff is an assistant on Babcock's staff and has been involved in the decision-making process.

"I have just told them what I think," Nill told "They have to make their final decisions, but I know both Tyler and Jamie are on the radar, which they should be. They're in that mix, now it's up to Stevie and them, they have to make a call and put the team together."

Benn said he first started hearing his name associated with the Olympic team in mid-November, right when the Stars went on a three-game road trip to Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

"Making our trips to Canada, they're all over you there," he said. "They all want to know and they get the message across with TSN and all their polls."

The conversation picked up when he had a six-point game in a 7-3 win against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 14. He had 24 points in 24 games entering December.

Benn then started to have some discussions with the Canadian coaching staff, particularly Ruff, but he always tried to relay the same message to everyone who has asked him about the Olympics.

"I'm doing fine, my focus is on this team," Benn said. "I'm just having fun with hockey right now."

Seguin is taking the same approach.

"We wanted to make some noise and I know we've done well," Seguin said. "I think Benn has been on the radar all year and I know I'm on the radar, but to make the team is out of your control."


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