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Dion Phaneuf Is New Maple Leafs Captain: Good or Bad?

MONTREAL- APRIL 10:  Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a faceoff during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens on April 10, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Amber AlexanderContributor IJune 15, 2010

I may be biased, but is everyone seeing the trend in naming a young player the new captain of the team?

Is it not bizarre that when Sidney Crosby became the youngest captain in the NHL at the tender age of 20 and found success by winning the Stanley Cup, soon after teams started giving their young players a "C" on their jerseys? 

Crosby was raised in front of a camera and mic; no other player has been under the scrutiny that Crosby has had to endure in his five years in the NHL. 

Can you believe it's been only five years? 

In that five years, here is what Crosby has accomplished: 

In 2007, Crosby won the Art Ross Trophy, Lester. B Pearson Award, Hart Memorial (MVP), and the Mark Messier Leadership Award. 

In 2009, he won the coveted Stanley Cup to become the youngest captain ever to win it.

He scored the overtime game-winner in the Olympic final to receive a gold medal in January of 2010.

He scored 51 goals to tie Steven Stamkos for the Rocket Richard Trophy. I'm still bitter that Stamkos tied Crosby on an empty net goal though. 

Crosby has been the best NHL player at the Espy's as voted on by fans, from 2007-2009.

The only other young captain that could even compete with Crosby would be Jonathan Toews. He has won the World Championships, Olympic gold, and now the Stanley Cup.

Toews won one thing Crosby didn't during his cup victory, and that's the Conn Smythe Trophy as league MVP. 

The fact is that today, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that after the last two years without a captain, since Mats Sudin left, the new captain will be a player who has played only 27 games in a Maple Leafs jersey.

Wow.

It's not just the fact that Phaneuf has only played in 27 games, it's also the type of player he is. 

He is 25, but you would think he was younger than Crosby.  He is a voice in the locker room, I'll give him that, but sometimes it's not a positive voice. He tends to let his emotions get the best of him, and it shows in games.

He is a hard hitting defenseman who started out with a jump in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

He was nominated for the Calder Trophy after setting a Calgary Flames record for most goals scored by a first year defenseman, and two years later was nominated for the James Norris Trophy.

He lost both times.

Phaneuf isn't ready. That's all there is to it.

He is on a team that is under the eyes of all Canadians, and the pressure is going to make or break him.  He will have to stay out of trouble and know how to deal with the media attention and take it all in.

It's going to be a crazy beginning for him and I wish him the best, even if I don't like his style.

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