Gary Bettman weighs in on Stars drama with CEO Jim Lites

Gary Bettman has given his opinion about Stars president Jim Lites’ tirade against Dallas forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and he doesn’t approve of the way Lites vented his frustrations.

Lites made headlines last week by seeking out reporters to say Benn and Seguin were playing like “f—ing horse s—.” While the statement was controversial, Bettman said that’s something the Stars will need to handle internally.

“We’re never going to condone profanity,” Bettman said from the Winter Classic Tuesday (via ESPN). “As a general rule, I don’t interfere in internal team dynamics. I’m known Jim Lites for as long as I’ve been in the NHL, and I’ve known him to be passionate. I also respect the fact that Jamie and Tyler are terrific players and have done a lot to grow the game in North America, and particularly in Texas.”

Lites’ tirade prompted the NHLPA to release a statement lambasting him and calling the rant unprofessional. Bettman also said he understands the frustration and that everyone wants to win.

“There’s a whole lot frustration going on in that organization, for all of them. The three Jims — [coach] Montgomery, [GM] Nill and Jimmy Lites — the owner Tom Gaglardi and Jamie and Tyler all want to win. And I think we saw frustration there, and that comes with the fact that they’re very, very competitive and want to do better.”

Benn and Seguin also responded to Lites, but were subdued in handling the situation.

“Jamie and I hear the message,” Seguin said. “I think the whole team hears it. We know that we have to play better and we understand that.”

The Stars return to action Wednesday, when they host the Devils at 8:30 p.m. ET.