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Master of chirping: Why Jamie Benn enjoys chatting it up with opponents

Exchanging unpleasantries and heated discussions are all part of the fun for the Stars captain

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars captain Jamie Benn is well known for not saying a lot in media interviews.

Take Wednesday night when he was asked to talk about his game-winning goal, a nice five-hole tally in the team's 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

"I just tried to make a good move and found a way to score the goal," Benn said.

That was typical Benn, who at times can come up with answers shorter than the question, which he did later in his postgame interview.

But the postgame interview of Buffalo goaltender Linus Ullmark shared another side of the Dallas captain. Ullmark said Benn can be quite the talker on the ice.

"He just runs his mouth all the time. I asked him if he would stop talking anytime soon," Ullmark said. "Those guys can really do what they want in this game. He's a terrific player. His goal was a nifty move, and he puts it five-hole. It's one of those fun things to embrace when you play."

So, what gives, Jamie?

Benn's initial response was a laugh and then a clue that he keeps up with what is said after games.  

"I saw that. He said I don't shut up," Benn said. "Can you believe that?"

Well, it's not unusual to see Benn hanging around the opposing net chatting with the other team's goaltender. He was doing it a lot with Ullmark. At one point in Wednesday's game, he put a shot on net from the left circle that Ullmark easily handled with his glove.

Video: Solid goaltending contributing to Stars' success

Benn then skated up to Ullmark for a chat.

"Just talking," Benn said. "I like talking to the goalies."

What are you talking about?

"It was nice to get a goal early. I just kind of reminded him to close his five-hole," Benn said. "Complimented him on a good save one time. Kind of just messing around with him, really."

Chirping is standard fare in hockey.

"Lots of chatter, yeah. The friendly chirps," Benn said with a smile. "Some compliments, some 'Hey, how you doing?' Just reminding him and other goalies where I might shoot sometimes."

Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin said players trying to chirp goaltenders is par for the course. He thinks Benn may have tried to talk to him in the past, but he can't remember what was said.

"There is a lot of players that try to talk to me. There's hockey, and there is an interesting side to it," Khudobin said. "Even (Alexander) Ovechkin tried to talk to me when we played Washington."

Not all the talk in Wednesday's game was friendly chirping. Benn and Sabres forward Jeff Skinner had a heated exchange midway through the third period.

"That wasn't a 'How you doing?' kind of chat," Benn said.

Video: BUF@DAL: Benn tucks home Fedun's dish to open scoring

It started after Benn nailed Buffalo captain Jack Eichel in the corner in the Dallas zone. Eichel and Benn sparred a little, and then Skinner came in and bumped Benn and slashed him as the players headed to the benches for a shift change. Then, Benn and Skinner carried on shouting at each other from their respective benches.

"They were a little bit upset about [the hit]," Benn said. "(Skinner), I know him a little bit, and he wasn't too happy with what was going on out there. He let me know, and I let him know back."

Caught in the crossfire was Khudobin, who was sitting in between the two benches. Photographers and TV cameras caught the Dallas goaltender smiling and laughing as Benn and Skinner exchanged unpleasantries.

"In the morning everyone was talking about it," Khudobin said. "Tom Holy (the Stars' vice president of communications) sent me a picture, and that was kind of funny and I thought that is probably going to be on TV or somewhere. It was pretty funny."

Benn chuckled when asked about that image of Khudobin.

"I thought that was a pretty cool picture and Dobby's facial expression pretty much said it all," Benn said. "He was loving it more than we were."

Khudobin witnesses a lot of heated exchanges in his perch between the benches, but Wednesday night's Benn-Skinner matchup stood out.

"But yesterday, it was captain versus high-scoring guy right now, and that was really funny," Khudobin said. "The way they started going on each other, I just started laughing. It always makes me smile on how it is going to end up, and there is nothing I can do about it, and I am just sitting there and laughing."

As for the winner of the great debate, Anton?

"Of course, Benner."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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