After every Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, I ask myself one question: What role did the captain play in the game? The reason this question is important is because the captain of hockey club is supposed to be the leader of the locker room. In the course of Leafs hockey history great leaders have come and gone.
Players like Doug Gilmore, Darryl Sittler, George Armstrong, Wendel Clark and of course Mats Sundin were all great leaders for the hockey franchise. To date since being a part of the blue and white, Dion Phanuef has scored 30 goals in three years as a part of the Maple Leafs.
It occurs to me that in order for a player to wear the letter “C” on their uniform, then said player must not only be a leader off the ice but also responsible for setting the tone a game and or season. After Sundin left for Vancouver most fans inside Leafs Nation were wondering who would be able to fill the huge void in the lineup with the departure of the Swedish born superstar.
I was personally excited to see the Leafs sign Phanuef simply because of his style of hockey impressed me. The No. 3 Leaf defenseman brought with him a no-holds-barred attitude that I believe former players that wore the hockey blue sweater lacked since Toronto’s last playoff run back in 2004. I believe the best way for Toronto to turn their past turmoil into triumph is by the Edmonton, Alberta native establishing a more physical presence on the ice during the course of a game that the opposition must fear. I believe Phanuef should study some video footage of past NHL star and former New Jersey Devils captain Scott Stevens. This might be a way for the Toronto to elevate their game in a direction that the city of Toronto can be proud of.