SOUTH BEND, Ind. — It wasn’t what Dallas Stars president Jim Lites stated that irked NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, however how he stated it.

Final Friday, Lites lit into his two star players, forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. He advised The Athletic that Seguin and Benn have been “f—ing horses—; I do not know the way else to put it.” He added that the sentiment was shared by proprietor Tom Gaglardi, and continued: “What no person says is what is totally apparent to me: We’re getting horrible play from our high two players.”

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Talking to reporters at Tuesday’s Winter Basic in South Bend, Bettman frowned on the tone of Lites’ comments.

“We’re by no means going to condone profanity,” stated Bettman, who stated nobody within the NHL’s hockey operations division reached out to Lites after his tirade.

However he noticed the remaining of this public trashing of two earlier NHL All-Star players as an internal matter for the Stars.

“As a normal rule, I do not intrude in internal team dynamics. I am identified Jim Lites for as lengthy as I have been within the NHL, and I’ve identified him to be passionate. I additionally respect the truth that Jamie and Tyler are terrific players and have accomplished loads to develop the sport in North America, and significantly in Texas,” stated Bettman.

“There’s an entire lot frustration going on in that group, for all of them. The three Jims — [coach] Montgomery, [GM] Nill and Jimmy Lites — the proprietor Tom Gaglardi and Jamie and Tyler all need to win. And I feel we noticed frustration there, and that comes with the truth that they’re very, very aggressive and need to do higher.”

In distinction to Bettman, the NHLPA blasted Lites for his comments. “The comments Jim Lites made concerning Tyler and Jamie are each reckless and insulting,” the NHLPA stated in an announcement. “If players directed such comments in direction of administration, how would these be regarded? To say that Jim Lites’ conduct is unprofessional can be a gross understatement. In skilled sports activities, all particular person players and groups undergo highs and lows, however this isn’t how professionals deal with adversity.”

Seguin and Benn had been muted of their responses, with Seguin saying “Jamie and I hear the message. I feel the entire team hears it. We all know that we have now to play higher and we perceive that.”

Bettman additionally introduced that the 2020 Winter Basic might be held on the Cotton Bowl, with the Dallas Stars internet hosting. Their opponents have but to be decided.

The Stars host the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday (eight:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+).

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