Today is the day that it is rumored the Toronto Maple Leafs will name Dion Phaneuf the 21st Captain in franchise history.
It has been quite some time since we have seen a leader on this team with such tangible intensity as Phaneuf. Sundin certainly didn't have it, perhaps Wendel Clark or Doug Gilmour, but certainly not Sundin.
Don't get me wrong all you Sundin fans, he was a great player and I can't say he was a bad leader, just just wasn't very intense in that role.
That being said, intensity without intelligence is not only not-productive it is often counter productive.
Phaneuf has demonstrated a penchant for leadership by example since he exploded onto the scene after yet another trade between the Calgary Flame and Toronto Maple Leafs that saw the Maple Leafs essentially fleece the Flames.
The Leafs haven't had a captain since Mats Sundin left in 2008. A fact that has not eluded fans of the team.
While many fans have thought that the Toronto Maple Leafs had need of a captain, the most plausible choice would have been someone like Ian White who ironically enough left the team for Calgary in the same trade that brought Phaneuf here.
The Leaf's lack of leadership had been evident for some time, even before the departure of Sundin and while I'm not sold on Phaneuf just yet he is certainly the best choice on a team with limited selection.
Phaneuf would likely have been the most logical choice for the captaincy in Calgary had the Flames parted ways with Jerome Iginla as well. The tension between the two was well documented and may have made the trade easier to swallow for Calgary's management.
All things being equal, today is officially a new era for the Toronto Maple Leafs and I applaud both the team and their new captain ( almost ) Dion Phaneuf.
List of Captains can be found here.