Chat wrap: Texas’ Jamie Benn

Rookie forward Jamie Benn of the Western Conference champion Texas Stars stepped into the AHL Chat Room on Tuesday, June 8 to answer fans’ questions about the 2010 Calder Cup Finals and much more. Jamie’s transcript is below!

What have been some of the differences playing in the AHL this postseason compared with what you experienced in the NHL? – Alyson from Austin, Tex.
I think the biggest thing was getting used to all my teammates, coming down after not playing with any of these guys all year. Not knowing any of the opponents and just trying to get to know them was another thing.

Was it strange to join Texas for the Calder Cup Playoffs after not playing a single game in the AHL during the entire regular season? – Jared from Oxford, Mass.
Maybe a little bit, but I was excited to come down here, I was excited to be part of this team and make a good run. I guess we’ve had a pretty good playoffs so far, and we’re just looking to close it out.

What have you been able to learn from playing in the Calder Cup Playoffs with Texas that you might be able to take back to Dallas next season? – D’Ann from Austin, Tex.
Just what it takes to win. I’ve stepped up from what I had last year in playoffs (in juniors), you get to play against some adversity and in some big games. The character that we showed to come back in (two Game 7’s) was big, and two Game 7 wins on the road was pretty special.

Describe the experience of going into Hershey for the first two games of the Finals, with all the tradition and large crowds that the Bears have… How were you guys able to win not one, but two games in such a tough environment? – Dan from Hershey, Penn.
I think we just kept it simple and played our game, played Texas Stars hockey, and that got us two wins. We knew they’re a good team, and we were focused on the team, not the fans. The biggest thing was getting a win, and we were fortunate enough to get two there.

As an individual, have you noticed the Bears playing you any differently than the other three teams you’ve faced this postseason? How are you trying to adjust? – Tim from Worcester, Mass.
No, I think throughout the playoffs each team has played me pretty tight. The Bears are doing a good job this series, but that’s why I’ve got teammates to help me out. I want to help them out, too.

Now that Hershey has finally shown what its offense is capable of, what is the coaching staff focusing on in order to get you guys ready to rebound in Game 4 tomorrow? – George from Cedar Park, Tex.
I think we know now – we knew before – that they have a high-powered offense. We have to key in on that, play our game, control the puck, have the puck as much as we can, and I think we’ll be fine.

From your perspective as one of the younger players on Texas, has it benefited you and the team to go through this playoff run with former Calder Cup champions Andrew Hutchinson and Dan Jancevski as teammates, as well as a few guys who opposed Hershey in last year’s Finals while with Manitoba? – Kevin from Boston, Mass.
Yeah, the more experience we have, the better. Those guys have definitely led the way and shown us what it takes, and it’s been really good to have them around.

What was it like playing with Mike Modano up in Dallas this past season? – Payton from Leander, Tex.
It was unbelievable. Mike’s a great guy, a great hockey player, and it was pretty special to play with him and to see what he does at the rink, and how he prepares for games. It’s something I’ll never forget.

Who from the Dallas Stars do you think has had the biggest impact on improving your game over the course of this past season? – Josh from Round Rock, Tex.
You know, I think every guy helped me out a lot. Every guy took me in and kept me under their wing, showed me the way. I don’t think I can say one guy in particular, but the whole team helped me around. (My linemates) switched around quite a bit, but I got some good time with (Brenden) Morrow and (Mike) Ribeiro, and with (Jere) Lehtonen and (Mike) Modano.

How much of a lift has the home crowd been for you guys this postseason, and what was it like coming out to see a packed arena for Game 3 last night? – Shannon from Round Rock, Tex.
It was unbelievable, the support we get here is amazing. We definitely notice it, and we have to thank our fans for being so great.

How does it feel knowing that you have a chance to win two different league championships in a span of just two seasons? – Karmela from Prince George, B.C.
It feels pretty good. We’re two wins away from winning it here, and it’s going to be tough, but I guess that’s something pretty special to say you’ve had a chance two years in a row.

You’ve played a lot of hockey over the last two years at an extremely high level. How do you keep the intensity up over so many games and how is your body holding up? – Daryl from Kelowna, B.C.
I think it’s just the excitement of playing the game. I love hockey, I love playing, and every game is fun. I think that’s what keeps me in it.

You’ve been on the road a lot it seems, but have you found any fun things to do in the Austin area during the Calder Cup Playoffs? – Jennifer from Leander, Tex.
All the boys are pretty tight and we do a lot of things off the ice, but we also try to get a lot of rest in when we’re not playing.

How much are you looking forward to your second season in Dallas next year? – Tyler from Austin, Tex.
I’m looking forward to it a lot. It’s going to be a big season for me and for the Dallas Stars, and it should be an exciting one. I need to get stronger, get bigger, and just work on my game in general.

Now that you have finished your rookie year in the NHL and will be winding up your playoff run with Texas in the next week, what do you like to do in your free time and during the offseason – Kathryn from Rockwall, Tex.
I’ll probably just relax, go golfing a lot, and just go back home and see friends and family.