Captain Jamie Benn: Stars still shooting for playoffs, but Dallas needs to get defensive

Jamie Benn and his team have taken some blows this season, but the Stars captain still believes they can turn things around. Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

TORONTO -- Jamie Benn is having another strong offensive season, with 46 points (16-30) in 49 games, but the Dallas Stars captain would trade that in at a moment's notice for a playoff spot. His team is sitting five points out and in need of a serious run to keep its postseason hopes alive. The 27-year-old native of Victoria, British Columbia, sat down with ESPN.com on Monday after this team flew in from Dallas on the eve of a game with the Toronto Maple Leafs to talk about finding the happy medium between being high-flying and sound defensively, bonding with his "brothers" in the dressing room during hard times and what it's like to play with his actual brother.

ESPN.com: How do you hit the reset button every day during a season like this and get in the right frame of to get back to work? It can't be easy.

Jamie Benn: It's not easy, but it's just part of being a professional. We made some changes coming into the season and didn't get off to the start that we wanted. We went through some injuries, but it was really no excuse to get off to a bad start. As of late, we're playing better hockey, but we have to find ways to win these games. I think we're playing good, but we're not getting results. We definitely need to change that.

ESPN.com: I remember talking to your owner, Tom Gaglardi, about him wanting the Stars to not just win games, but also entertain your fans. The high-flying Dallas Stars, that's what you guys are. How hard is it to be that and to win in this league, especially now that you have had a taste of both success last season (when Dallas won the division) and this season's frustrations?

Benn: It's hard to kind of hit both areas. We were the high-flying Stars last year, and we scored a lot of goals, but we also gave up a lot. In this league, we all know that you don't win without defense, and the best defensive teams win the Stanley Cup. We've seen that with Chicago and L.A. and Boston. So we need to find that happy medium, where we can be high-flying but be a smart team to play against, play good defense in the long run.

ESPN.com: In that same vein, did playing for Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics -- and the way Mike Babcock and the coaching staff got that team ready -- leave an impression on you? It was keep-away hockey on the bigger ice.

Benn: Yeah, I think that's a perfect example. We were up against the best players in the world, and we had the best team in the world at the time. It was defense-first. We won 1-0, we won 2-1. It's still fun hockey to play. It's fun when you win. That's the perfect example of a team putting defense first and winning hockey games.

ESPN.com: It looked like after you beat the Leafs last week something was starting, but then the last two games were losses. So your team is still in the race, but you guys need a serious run, right?

Benn: It's frustrating. We know where we sit. We know it's going to be a tough road. We have a lot of road games coming up in the next two months, and we haven't exactly been the best road team. [Dallas has gone 7-13-4 away from home.] It's going to take something special, but there's no reason we can't do it. I've been here before, through my time in Dallas. It's not an easy road to take, but it's definitely doable. It's going to take everything we got, that's for sure.

ESPN.com: What do you do to get away from it all, to give your mind a break, keep it from weighing on you 24/7? Do you watch a particular show? Go tango dancing with your girlfriend?

Benn: (Laughs.) You know, it's hard not to think about hockey 24/7. You go to the rink in the morning, and you put in your work for 3-4 hours and then you try to get away. I like to watch movies in my downtime. I just try to enjoy life outside of hockey by relaxing. Movies are probably my getaway.

ESPN.com: What's the best movie you've seen recently?

Benn: I'm hooked on "Pearl Harbor" right now. I keep watching that one over and over. I'm a big fan of the historical parts, and I like airplanes. My dad is a big airplane guy, so I've learned a thing or two from him. My girlfriend's stepdad is a pilot, so I keep hanging around airplane guys.

ESPN.com: I've asked this question to other NHL captains: We're in a different era now, with millennials populating dressing rooms around the league, and a lot of players constantly on their phones. I'm wondering what the interaction is like in today's NHL. Do you still stand up in the room every day as captain? How do you go about your business?

Benn: I think it's still pretty similar. You can stand up and say what you mean and not hurt guys' feelings. Every team has a pretty tight group. It's easy to talk in front of your team, [but] probably not as much outside the room. It's easy to talk to your teammates and let them know how you really feel and what you have to work on. You're all in it together, and that's the best part.

ESPN.com: Have you grown more comfortable with that role?

Benn: Yeah, for sure. I like to keep the rap I have of being a guy who doesn't talk to the media too well [smiles]. That's perfectly fine with me. But talking inside the room? That's easy. It's home. We're all brothers in there; we're family. I just have the best part of leading the way and being able to speak my mind the most.

ESPN.com: You say you're all brothers in there. You have an actual brother in there. What's it been like to have your brother, Jordie, as a teammate?

Benn: It's a lot of fun. We still live together. We're just enjoying the hockey lifestyle and really taking it all in. Our parents are really happy with it, having to just go to one city to see both boys. It's not very often you get to play with your brother. It's pretty cool, and we're enjoying every minute of it.

ESPN.com: Well, he's got you beat on the beard.

Benn: (Laughs.) He's got a pretty good beard going. That's his calling card now. He takes pretty good care of it. I think it looks pretty good on him, actually.