How have Seguin, Benn responded since being called out?

Less than two weeks ago, Dallas Stars president Jim Lites called out superstar forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn because they weren’t “getting it done.” The hockey community was stunned when those comments came to light. Why take a shot at your franchise players when your team depth has been a serious issue for years? Even the NHLPA jumped in to stick up for two of their own.

Immediately, many began to speculate that this was going to be the end of one or both players in Dallas. The Stars have said that they won’t be trading either player, so a divorce probably isn’t imminent. So Seguin and Benn had to find a way to get through all the noise.

How have they responded since being called out by their president on Dec. 28? Let’s take a look.

Benn played only 15:07 in a huge, 5-1, win over the Detroit Red Wings. He had just two shots on net and didn’t collect a point in the victory. But he followed that up by scoring in back-to-back games against Montreal and New Jersey. Unfortunately for him, he was knocked out of the game against the Devils after he took a questionable hit from forward Miles Wood.

The 29-year-old missed the following game against the Washington Capitals, but he was able to return the following game against Winnipeg. He finished minus-2 but didn’t register a shot on goal. He was plus-2 in last night’s win over St. Louis but, again, no points and just one shot on goal.

Benn’s possession numbers haven’t been good at all since he came back to the lineup. His CF% was a team-low 31.82 during the game against the Jets. The possession numbers were worse last night (27.59), as he and the rest of the Stars were outshot by the Blues.

The injury clearly came at an unfortunate time, but most of the Stars haven’t posted good numbers over the last two contests.

As for Seguin, he’s managed to be incredibly productive since being called out. He started out by picking up an assist in back-to-back games against the Wings and Habs. In that game against the Canadiens though, he managed to fire eight shots on goal. He took another eight shots on net against the Devils and scored twice.

With Benn out of the lineup against Washington, Seguin managed to put together another two-goal effort in a 2-1 win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The 26-year-old registered an assist on Dallas’ only goal against Winnipeg, and he followed that up with a three-point effort (two goals, one assist) versus the Blues last night. So overall, he’s picked up six goals and 10 points in his last six outings.

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Five Places to Visit in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills is an expensive place with a village-like charm, but it pays to know where to go. Cash Black, a bartender at one of its hot spots, shares his favorites.

Beverly Hills is more approachable than you might expect for a ZIP code typically associated with Lamborghinis and reality stars. It has a surprising number of sidewalk cafes and swaths of greenery. That village-like charm, coupled with residents’ famously refined palates, is what attracted Cash Black to the area seven years ago. “Jewelry. Cars. Wine. Beverly Hills has the best of the best. You don’t get to be here unless you really know what you’re doing,” said Mr. Black, a Las Vegas native, who began as a valet and worked his way up to head bartender at £10, a high-end Scotch bar tucked in the back of the Montage Beverly Hills hotel. He presides over the five-table bar as if it’s his own living room, occasionally bringing in his guitar to jam with clients. At ease with his customers’ seemingly unrestrained wealth (the Lalique crystal tumblers go for $650 apiece), Mr. Black, 31, has a startling command of whisky. (He’s also a cowboy in his spare time, corralling cattle on weekends.) Here, five of Mr. Black’s favorite places in Beverly Hills.

1. Wally’s
Mr. Black’s standards for drinking venues is understandably high, but the bar scene at this visually striking bistro just three blocks from his hotel bar, strikes the right chord. “The bar scene is really nice, the drinks are well made, and the bartenders are attentive,” he said. At the bar, white marble counter-height tables are framed on both sides by mounted wine racks stretching up to the ceiling; and the image of all those bottles (9,000, give or take) is impressive. “There’s a lot of energy in there,” Mr. Black said.

2. Urth Caffe
When Mr. Black’s parents visit from Vegas (his father is a medicinal marijuana grower, and his mother is a barrel racer in the rodeo), this is where they come. The brunch plates are hearty, and the service fast, but it’s the sheer variety of homemade desserts that his parents and many others find so endearing. Banana cream pie. Matcha tiramisù. Coconut royale. The wide-ranging menu is perfect for family-style ordering, too. “My family is one of those that likes to order seven appetizers, and everybody eats everything,” Mr. Black said. He added, “my mom goes nuts for their cakes.” (This is one of eight locations throughout Los Angeles, including a new spot at Los Angeles International Airport.)

3. Momed
Inside this airy, unpretentious Mediterranean restaurant, a deli case displays bowls of colorful Turkish muhammara (a roasted red pepper dip) and creamy hummus, and there’s outdoor seating to enjoy the foot traffic on South Beverly Drive. It’s the perfect setting for an early dinner before Mr. Black starts his nightly shift; the daily happy hour (2:30-5:30 p.m.) has $5 mezze plates, always served with a basket of steaming-warm pita. “It’s a surprisingly good value in a city full of overpriced entrees,” he said.

4. Wallis Annenberg Center
A 1930s post office, now repurposed as a performing arts center — complete with a 500-seat main stage and a 150-seat theater for smaller productions — has become an important community hub in retail-crazed Beverly Hills. It holds special meaning for Mr. Black, who aspired to be an actor when he first moved to Los Angeles. “It’s awesome that the city understands its artist community,” he said, noting the high caliber of recent productions, including “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” and Joe Morton’s one-man stunner “Turn Me Loose.” “We live in the creative capital of the world,” Mr. Black said, but until the center’s opening in 2013, “there weren’t a lot of places you could go to see really good stuff.”

5. Virginia Robinson Gardens
When he’s not pouring $300 whisky shots or juggling last-minute reservations at his bar, Mr. Black drives his black Ford SVT Raptor up North Beverly Drive, taking in the opulence along a route where many movies have been filmed. “These are insane homes. There’s one up there where the whole lawn is just full of statues of different animals.” His favorite retreat? Virginia Robinson Gardens, a six-acre estate built in 1911 with an Australian King Palm forest, a rose garden and a Beaux-Arts mansion. Its now deceased owner, socialite Virginia Dryden Robinson, was known for her extravagant tastes and her high-profile guests (Fred Astaire used to play tennis in the backyard). “She was something of a party girl,” Mr. Black said knowingly. “Or so I’ve heard.”

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The Upside Is Just Too Retrograde to Be Funny

The latest entry in the “the black guy and the white guy can get along!” canon is The Upside, in which Bryan Cranston plays Phillip, a rich-guy quadriplegic who hires ex-con Dell, played by Kevin Hart, to be his caregiver. Their start is rocky; they have both class and race differences to overcome, not to mention that Phillip, paralyzed from the neck down after a parasailing accident, has no choice but to use a wheelchair. But Dell will soon introduce the opera-loving Phillip to the joys of Aretha Franklin, even as Dell falls a little bit in love with opera himself. He will also learn to perform what he views as the most distasteful task of his job: changing Phillip’s catheter. After a great deal of protestation, accompanied by a series of exaggerated sour-milk faces, Dell learns that touching another man’s penis–in certain controlled circumstances, at least–really isn’t so bad.

Even if you roll your eyes at this example of retrograde homophobia, you might be able to excuse it, especially in a movie as well-intentioned as this one is. But the scene is strange to watch in the context of the controversy now swirling around Hart, who gave up his gig as the host of this year’s Academy Awards ceremony after it came to light that he’d posted a series of homophobic remarks on his Twitter feed in 2010 and 2011. Hart may yet host the Oscars–although for now he says he won’t. But as Dell, Hart’s anti-penis-touching shtick–the wincing, the flailing arms, the wrinkled nose–is too desperate to be funny, and for a time, at least, it jiggles the movie off its footing.

That’s too bad, but it’s also a by-product of the times we’re living in, an era when our perceptions about performers we generally like may follow us into the movie theater, hard as we may try to leave them at the door. Dell’s phallus phobia notwithstanding, The Upside–a remake of the 2011 French film Intouchables, based on a true story and a huge hit in its home country–is neither great nor terrible. It quavers in that middle ground of pictures you think you might watch on a plane someday, and you could make a worse choice.

Directed by Neil Burger, whose previous film was the 2014 young-adult adventure Divergent, it tootles along cheerfully enough on its stretch of predictably laid-out track. Before Dell arrives, Phillip has soured on life. He employs an efficient schoolmarm type, Yvonne (Nicole Kidman, in a role that asks little of her), to manage his business affairs, but it’s Dell’s appearance on the scene that really kicks his joie de vivre back into gear.

The rapport between Cranston, so superb at being a crab apple that he could probably do it in his sleep, and Hart, a gifted and energetic performer, has some crackle. But even in that equation Hart presents some problems: his lines tend to hit with the snap of a locker-room towel–they don’t leave much space for his fellow actors. And that’s probably the one factor that derails this otherwise efficient picture more than anything. At one point Phillip surprises Dell by playing an Aretha track he’s never heard before, her “Nessun Dorma” from the 1998 Grammys. “The Queen,” Dell observes, “makes everything better.” He’s not wrong–but even she can do only so much.

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