Born 10 days apart in 1985 and drafted within an hour of one another in the first round at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf (April 10, No. 9 overall) and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook (April 20, No. 14) are meeting here in the playoffs for the first time
The question needs to be asked: Who would you rather have in a Flames Jersey?
Dion rocketed to stardom with a breakout first year. He collected 20 goals (he was only the third rookie defenceman to score 20 goals in NHL history), 29 assists, a plus-five rating, and many nice-to-meet-you moments, where NHL veteren heavies like Bill Guerin got to know the new tough kid personally—and unfortunately for them in most cases.
Most years, a first season like his would have seen him claim the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year.
But this was not most years.
It was 2005-06, and that season saw two other stud rookies enter the league. Maybe you’ve heard of them—Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin?
However, fame did follow Phaneuf, as he made it to the All Star game the next two seasons is currently featured on the cover of EA Sports NHL ‘09.
Come to think of it, that could be the reason for his shitty play. Who’s says the curse of being featured of the cover of those games has to be a physical injury, why not a mental one?
This season his play has regressed, his goal totals are down, and he’s turning the puck over and getting beaten flat-footed. At times, he's looking something not unlike a donkey, on ice. A minus-11 donkey to boot.
*Rene Bourque just undressed Khabibulin after a great play by Olli Jokinen to put Calgary up with just over two minutes left in the second period of game three.
He’s played a lot, however, and eats up big minutes. When you do that and are young, you're going to make mistakes. Is his head in the game at times? Elisha is in the crowd and boys are talking to her? What? Who said that?
Is it? It’s exactly why Roman Turek could never be consistently good and live up to his potential—remember him?
Moving on to Seabrook—who, like Phaneuf, made the jump to the NHL immediately following the lockout year of 2004-05. He played in 69 games, scoring five goals while picking up 27 helpers for 34 points, and sporting a plus-five for a very bad Chicago team (26-43-7-6).
Similar years have followed for Seabrook, as he learned how to defend well after his somewhat of a down second year (81GP 4G-19A-24PT, -6).
But he rebounded, and along with the Blackhawks' turnaround Seabrook has become a shutdown defenceman. He often—if not always—is on the ice against the other team's top guns with his defense partner Duncan Keith.
And while Seabrook has good size (6′3″, 220 lbs.) and he’s a good technical defenceman who will finish his checks, most wouldn’t have categorized him in Dion Phaneuf’s range in his first couple years, because his reputation wasn’t as great as Phaneuf’s—whose offensive totals helped him stand out in the crowd.
But this season, Seabrook has thrown 224 bodychecks to Phaneuf’s 159 (both team leaders) and his plus-23 makes Dion’s minus-11 standout somewhat gawkishly*.
Four seasons and five years after being drafted that June afternoon in 2003, the two heavyweight rearguards are clashing in a very closely-fought yet one-sided playoff series, where both Phaneuf and Seabrook are playing integral roles for their teams.
Both are 24 years old. Phaneuf is the embodiment physical offence while Seabrook is physical defence.
Phaneuf is scheduled to make $6,500,000 annually untill the end of the 2013-14 season. Seabrook is scheduled to make $3,500,000 annually untill the end of the 2010-11 season.
In the end what it comes down to is what your preferences are. Potentially is this a learning year Phaneuf is having or is his ability to learn hindered somewhat?
Seabrook either has a smoking-hot model of a girlfriend named Lauren who lives in Calgary or she’s just a myth or ex-girlfriend now. If it’s the latter, at least he left her in Calgary.
Phaneuf has a smoking-hot Hollywood starlet on his arm and she’s real—sometimes even visible in the flesh—so he wins this portion of the discussion.
*I personally think that if Calgary blow this lead tonight that Darryl Sutter should fire Mike Keenan before Game Three, come down out of the comfy seats and threaten to trade anyone who doesn’t perform to Atlanta or Phoenix
So who do you want? Do you want the renegade wild cannon who can win the game for you or lose the game for you? Or do you want the guy who won’t lose the game for you and may keep the other team from winning?
*David Moss, 3-1 Calgary
*With six minutes to play Kiprusoff just let Patrick Sharp know that Calgary GOT THIS ONE, TY GG.
*4-1 David Moss, God Damn, gotta love a kid that goes to the net!
*Hi David Bolland, have you met Mikka Kiprusoff yet?
Hmmm, this post was supposed to end a few moments ago but I was working on the graphics so your getting game three updates while I finish it up.
*Daymond Langkow is in the sin bin, penalty kill.
*Daymond Langkow is out of the box, full strength.
*Rene Bourque is in the sin bin, penalty kill.
*Rene Bourque is out of the box, full strength.
*Rene Bourque is in the box, penalty kill and the fans are chanting something about agriculture and cows.
*Kipper has saved this team with a man down often tonight
*Save, Kiprusoff! 4:56 remains in the third.
*Phaneuf levels Toews along the boards. Toews gets up gets the puck to Patrick Sharp, who comes in virtually alone with Martin Havlat, who pots home the Sharp pass.
*Adam Pardy gives Public Enemy No. 1 Martin Havlat an introduction to his shoulder.
*Khabibulin is pulled with 1:25 to go.
*Dion Phaneuf and Ben Eager get into a very small fight, no damage done to anyone. Players are jawing with each other all over the ice. Jarome Iginla is going out of his way to the Chicago bench to have words with someone—David Bolland.
*4-2, Flames. Faceoff in the Chicago net, Khabi returns to morter his wall.
*One minute to go.
*Rene Bourque is starting a line brawl as he goes after an unidentified Blackhawk. Dustin Byfuglien and Iglina are clinching. Byfuglien has a head log on Craig Conroy too!
*Bourque went after Adam Burish to set things off as Burish broke his stick on Rene Bourque’s newly healed shoulder—and broke it cross checking him. All’s fair in love and war.
*Fans are chanting 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, Flames WIN and the Red Mile will breathe tonight
And of course Phaneuf does have that upside and potential to be amazing if he can just learn to play defense with his stick and mind.
*Oh and here is footage from that late-game dust up. Good night.
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