Dion Phaneuf Will Be Next Leafs Captain
The moment Dion Phaneuf stepped into the Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room he made an immediate impact, asking “who is in charge of the music”. When his new teammates failed to answer him Phaneuf confidently made his way to the locker room stereo and cranked the stereo, letting everyone know, there was a new sheriff in town.
That night Phaneuf played his first game in the historic Blue and White colors of the Maple Leafs jersey, hitting everything in sight, getting involved offensively and even hammering out a fight with New Jersey Devils defenseman Colin White.
Leafs head coach Ron Wilson commented on the subject of Phaneuf becoming the Leafs’ next captain on a local radio station (The Fan 590) in Toronto yesterday stating, “He’s (Phaneuf) vocal. He plays aggressive. He cares about his teammates and he’s really highly involved in the community already in two months. We wanted to let everything play out over time, let him get comfortable here, let him get to know everybody, everybody get to know him. But right now I’d be perfectly comfortable with Dion as the captain of the team.”
It sounds to me like Wilson has picked his man and if Wilson has his way, which I suspect he will, Phaneuf will be the Leafs next captain.
Leafs general manager Brian Burke has often said he wants players that play with “truculence”, well, he’s got one in Phaneuf.
This morning on a local television show (CP 24), Burke was cautious to name Phaneuf the captain just yet, stating “that’s the coach’s decision”. Burke went on to say that he likes what Phaneuf brings to the rink each day and would support his coach’s decision 100%.
Burke also addressed the Leafs lack of a captain the past few seasons lamenting that he didn’t see a player on the roster that could live up to the former Leafs captains Darryl Sittler and George Armstrong, preferring to wait until a player of that caliber emerged.
Clearly, Phaneuf has a long way to go before his leadership abilities are mentioned in the same breath as Sittler and Armstrong, that said, Phaneuf looks like he has what it takes to be the Captain of the Maple Leafs and, by all accounts, should fill the role nicely.
Phaneuf is media savvy, commands the respect of the players and has an aura around him that few players have in the game of hockey. He’s tough; he’s Truculent and, most of all, he’s proud to be wearing the Leafs jersey.
Clearly, the Leafs have other leaders on this team. Veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin exudes leadership and Tomas Kaberle, while not vocal, plays at a level that commands respect. That said, nobody brings the complete package that Phaneuf does and, for that reason, he will be the Leafs next captain.
Until next time,