Home > Eastern Conference, NHL, Northeast Division > To the surprise of exactly no one, the Leafs name Dion Phaneuf captain.

To the surprise of exactly no one, the Leafs name Dion Phaneuf captain.

via NHL.com

This was leaked Friday in an article on The Hockey News – actually, just about everyone assumed what was going on when the Leafs announced that they had a press conference scheduled for 3:00 Monday afternoon.  Sure, they were unveiling their spiffy new jerseys that look decidedly less RBK-like than I’m sure Reebok would like (which is fine by me, really), complete with a return to piping as well as a shoulder patch.  But everyone and their mother knew that Dion Phaneuf was going to be named the Leafs’ new captain – the first since the departure of Mats Sundin.  I don’t know if they didn’t feel that they had anyone who was captain-worthy between Sundin and now, or if they left the spot open in a kind of memoriam to the last vestige of anything resembling glory days.  Today they made the plugging of that void official.

Congrats to Phaneuf.  Honestly.  The fluffed up hyperbole of the article on the Leafs site doesn’t exactly match the man that they gave the “C” to.  I watched the presentation live this afternoon, and I – like many of the Leafs fans that I follow on Twitter – had the same reaction: Dion Phaneuf has the emotional depth of a puddle.  He fumbled getting his folded speech out of his back pocket after an extremely awkward photo op.  He started reading the speech with hesitancy, and wound up reading it like he was a junior high student running for class vice president.  Phaneuf’s an excellent defenseman. He is, as Burke pointed out, very intense, very “meat and potatoes.”  But once in a while, don’t you want something thrown in there, like a new rub, or maybe some spices on those spuds?

Phaneuf will steer a team grounded by the unerring decency of Jean-Sebastien GiguereMike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin. If you can judge the chances of success of a leader by the caliber of his supporters, Phaneuf will be fine.

All right then – his teammates are decent, and he seems decent, but can the Leafs finally be more than decent this year?  Can they make up for the disappointment of seasons past and the frustration of knowing that they missed out on a franchise cornerstone player by trading away their first round draft pick?  Phaneuf has a lot weighing on his shoulders.  Here’s hoping he can carry it with some hutzpah… or at least more than he showed today.

  1. JonathanA
    June 17, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    “… can the Leafs finally be more than decent this year?”

    Actually, achieving decency would be an improvement for the Leafs this year; but you’re right – it would be better (for them) if they were better.

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