Is Phaneuf the Right Man To Lead?

Bleacher ReportContributor IJune 13, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 06:  Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on against the Ottawa Senators in a game at Scotiabank Place on March 6, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Well, the wait is over. The Leafs will finally officially announce Dion Phaneuf as the 17th captain in team history.

Even though Ron Wilson let the cat out of the bag in April, now it’s time for the standard press conference where Dion will be formally introduced as the new leader. The Leafs will also show off their snazzy new jersey design at the presser as well. The festivities will get underway at 2:30 EST tomorrow (Monday).

It’s tough to say if this is all too soon, and almost impossible to say Phaneuf is too young.

We’ve just watched a 22 year old Jonathan Toews hoist the Cup as the captain of an Original Six franchise. Last season we watched Sid the Kid do the same for the Penguins. There’s no doubt Phaneuf is “old enough” to be the captain, if there is such a thing.

The question is; are the Leafs jumping the gun a little here? Right now I’ll say no, but it is an obvious “wait and see” decision.

Before Phaneuf came into the fold, my initial pick for the Leafs' future captain was Mike Komisarek.

I could really care less if Komisarek gets more than eight points next season. He’s a great player and a great personality, definitely deserving of a letter. So when Phaneuf was basically named the captain two months ago, a part of me was a little let down that Komisarek was finally out of the running.

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But don’t cry for me, I can still understand this move by Wilson to go forward with Dion wearing the “C.”

Phaneuf is intense, physical, fast, and from what I can tell, vocal. Brian Burke mentioned in his end of season presser that Phaneuf was an “adrenaline bomb” in the Leafs dressing room after the mammoth deal that brought him to Toronto.

“He even barks at me sometimes,” Burke said.

With Phaneuf becoming the new captain, I think most Leafs fans’ only worry is that he’s going to call out the wrong person or cause some kind of rift with another player. The speculation out of Calgary that described Phaneuf as a terrible locker room presence still weighs in to most people’s opinion as to whether he can be an effective leader.

I don’t really buy into that garbage to be honest, and I think after three months of play with the Leafs, teammates and coaches alike have a pretty good idea of what’s what with Dion.

In my own opinion, I believe Phaneuf or Komisarek would have been safe choices for the Leafs new leader. Dion received the nod, and now he’ll take the reigns. The decision may have come a little soon, but another year without a captain for the Leafs would have been a bit ridiculous as well.

If Tomas Kaberle is dealt soon, we can assume Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin still assisting Phaneuf in the Leafs' leadership ranks.

Good luck to Dion, and hopefully he’ll lead Leafs Nation for many seasons.

Email: maplestirup@gmail.com


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