Is Dion Phaneuf A Good Captain ?


There are things that go on with sports teams and athletes that members of the media simply don’t report on. The question I guess is where the line should be drawn. What’s fair game and what’s off limits. Many of us, I am sure, remember the old Gary Leeman, Al Secord rumblings. I am pretty sure that none of that every got written. There was no internet back then and the 24 hour news coverage wasn’t what it is today. As the saying went regarding Bill Clinton, if CNN, FOX or MSNBC were around during the lives of past presidents their legacy’s may not be what they are.

Why do I raise this tonight?

“Whether Phaneuf, best known for his Day One command of the dressing-room stereo, can be a voice for team-wide harmony remains an open question. Some close to the team believe, citing Phaneuf’s absence from Sundin’s shindigs, that he is tone deaf to what’s expected of the playing face of a heritage club, not to mention unwilling to ask for advice. Many found it curious in this week’s blowout loss that Phaneuf passed on chances to fight the likes of long-time nemesis Scott Hartnell and instead turned his late-game wrath on Flyers rookie Brayden Schenn. Schenn’s brother, Luke, of course, is Toronto’s longest serving defenceman. The tete-a-tete fuelled long-held speculation that the tension that exists between Phaneuf and Toronto’s Schenn is a cancerous dressing-room presence. It also had more than one former Leaf questioning the captain’s wherewithal.”

Dave Feschuk in the column from which that quote originates has pointed a spotlight on something that’s been whispered numerous times in my ears, that is that captain Dion has been less than an stellar influence on Luke Schenn. This is, the first time I’ve seen the issue reported on. I have heard it enough times this season that when I was in the car listening to the “game” (if you can call it that) and I heard Luke’s brother was fighting Dion, I wondered if Brayden decided to do that which Luke certainly cannot.

I am really curious to see if Feschuck is now a pioneer, has he opened the floodgates for the MSMers to start writing more on the captaincy of Dion Phaneuf. This will be VERY interesting to watch.

More on Dion:

“On a weekend on which Sundin, Phaneuf’s predecessor as chief Leaf, was feted with separate receptions on Friday and Saturday night, at least three former players who attended the events say Phaneuf never showed up to pay his respects to Sundin.

“Dion’s absence was noted,” said one former player.

Another ex-NHLer, who pointed out that even members of the Canadiens made time to honour Sundin, guffawed at Phaneuf’s oversight.

“It’s a no-brainer: If you’re the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you go. Period,” said an ex-Leaf. “That’s part of learning what it’s like to be a captain. (Phaneuf) has a lot to learn. The former players asked not to be named because Phaneuf is seen as a golden boy by Brian Burke, the Leafs president and general manager, who despite his team’s epic free-fall through the standings remains an influential figure in NHL circles. ”

So anyone want to take bets on who the former leafs are?

I have no idea, none, zip, zilch, nadda, however I’d wager a beer or two on Tie Domi and or Gary Roberts being part of a small pool of potential vets who would make comments like that.

It’s an interesting time for the captain.

Did you see Damien’s tweet about him the other day:

“Don’t know if Dion Phaneuf is a good captain. But everytime he dons Red Bull hat for an interview, he’s putting himself ahead of his team.”

I’ll say this, Dion is the quietest Leafs captain we’ve had in a long time. I don’t think fans identify with him at all. Maybe that matters, maybe it doesn’t.

The rumors swirling about him and how he may have treated or treats Luke Schenn aren’t flattering.

Personally, I think Dion takes a lions share of the blame for the collapse of the team this year. He is a veteran, he is the captain. This is supposed to be his team. One guy shouldn’t take it all on, but only 1 guy gets to be the captain.

Happy Saturday!


Photo from here

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