The NHL Department of Player Safety has handed down a two-game suspension to Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn as a result of a cross-check to the neck of Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone early into last night’s Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
As mentioned in our coverage earlier this morning of the news of Benn’s hearing, the initial play resulted in a major penalty and game misconduct for Benn.
In a video statement, NHL Player Safety described the play as Stone pursuing the puck through the neutral zone and appearing ready to engage with Benn. However, as Stone closed in, Benn made a decision that would ultimately lead to his suspension.
Benn chipped the puck up the wall, attempting to maneuver around Stone and gain the offensive zone. In the process, though, Stone was sent crashing to the ice. Seizing the opportunity, Benn then proceeded to deliver a forceful cross-check to Stone’s head and neck area.
Player Safety emphasized that Benn was in complete control of the play and deliberately chose to execute the dangerous cross-check on a prone player. Their decision to suspend Benn stems from their assessment of the incident as an unnecessarily dangerous act carried out with sufficient intent and force to warrant supplemental discipline.
It should be noted that Benn has a history of fines, having been fined four times over the course of his 1,030-game NHL career. This is his first offense to elevate to the level of suspension, however.
The suspension will see Jamie Benn sidelined for the Stars’ next two playoff or regular season games, meaning if the Stars are eliminated in tomorrow’s Game 4, Benn’s suspension will carry over to the first game of the 2023-24 season.
It’s a large loss for Dallas, who will need two straight wins to extend their season to the point where Benn can return. His 11 points in 16 games are tied for fourth on the team in scoring, and his 33 goals and 78 points in the regular season were his highest total since 2017-18.