Toronto Maple Leafs: Recapping the Best Dion Phaneuf Moments
With the former captain and his untradeable contract gone to the Ottawa Senators we look back at bright moments from Dion Phaneuf’s time in Toronto
By: David Morassutti
While Dion Phaneuf’s time in Toronto did not work out in the way that he or the Toronto Maple Leafs would have like there is no doubt that he did have an impact on the team. Whether it was his shot from the point (when he actually hit the net) or the hits and fights he brought a presence that the Leafs desperately needed. Miscasting him as a number one defenceman and prematurely making captain too soon set expectations that were not going to be easy to accomplish in the pressure cooker that is Toronto. Here are some highlights from Phaneuf’s time in Toronto.
Vintage Phaneuf slapshot
Even though Phaneuf’s shooting ability was not like it was with Calgary he did have some nice goals when his shot did hit the net like this one against the team he was traded to.
Runs over Michael Sauer
Phaneuf would take risks with some of the hits that he made because it would leave him out of position and exposed. However when he did lay the big hit it would be all over the highlight shows.
Phil Kessel Sets Up the Captain
Phil Kessel had a special bond with his captain especially with their ping pong battles that we saw on the Winter Classic HBO Series when they played the outdoor game against the Detroit Red Wings. Kessel did a good job making the players around him better offensively because of his passing ability which were put on display here.
Rivalry with Scott Hartnell
There is no other player in the league that gets under Phaneuf’s skin more than Hartnell. They had spirited battles when Hartnell was with the Philadelphia Flyers and this fight here has to be the most memorable one.
Levels T.J. Oshie
One of the nicest hits that Phaneuf ever made with the Leafs, too bad it came just as the play was being called offside.
Catches Patric Hornqvist with his head down
This hit unlike the Oshie one was during play and it was a quick but effective hit that caught Hornqvist off guard so much that he quickly got up after it.
Rams into Tuomo Ruutu
The reaction that JOe Bowen has when Phaneuf makes this hit makes it so much sweeter.
Collides with teammate Mike Komisarek in warmup
Some may see this as an accident but considering the many issues with Komisarek’s play in Toronto I am sure that some may be wondering whether this was intentional. If Phaneuf meant to do it then he maybe he was not as bad of a captain after all.
End to End Rush Which Leads to Overtime Winnier
To see Phaneuf go end to end like this was a rare sight especially since it leads to a nice finish by Mikhail Grabovski in the end. Too bad it did not work out with Phaneuf and Grabovski because they did provide some nice moments for the short period that they were here.
In the end it was a good trade for the Leafs to get rid of Phaneuf but to say that Phaneuf’s time with the Leafs was a total failure would be wrong to say. That is the problem with unreasonable expectations placed on a player who never showed the capability to be a number one defencemen and hopefully he finds success with his new team.