"We would have to make an absolutely amazing trade for Dion (Phaneuf) not to be the captain next season."
That is what head coach Ron Wilson said after the 2009-10 regular season finished, and I would have to agree, based on Phaneuf's energy, and other things that Wilson has told to the media.
Dion Phaneuf is a player who can spark a team with a big hit or, sometimes, a goal. But that does not make him the captain automatically.
The Leafs have had many great captains since they were first formed in 1927. Captains include Mats Sundin, who won the Mark Messier Leader of the Year Award for the 2007-2008 season, his last with the Leafs.
Phaneuf would also be joining a list that includes Charlie Conacher, who was with the Leafs when they won the Stanley Cup in 1932, and went to the finals seven times. Ted "Teeder" Kennedy, who captained the Buds for eight years, winning five Stanley Cups, is also on that list. The list of former great Leaf captains goes on to include George Armstrong, Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive, Wendel Clark, and Doug Gilmour.
What do all of these players have in common? They could not only bring energy to the Leafs on the ice, but they could also get the team fired up in the dressing room.
Earlier this season, Wilson told the media that he, Keith Acton, Rob Zettler and Tim Hunter can hear Dion Phaneuf giving speeches in the dressing room from their coaches room, two rooms down the hall from the dressing room.
The point is that, assuming he does get named captain, Dion will most likely, at least in my mind, be the next great captain of the Maple Leafs. However, only time will tell.
Ron Wilson quote: TSN's SportsCentre
Captain and captain success: www.wikipedia.org
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