Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf to Face Hearing for Dangerous Hit

As if the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t already have enough problems.

It looks like the Leafs will have to play at least a few games without their captain Dion Phaneuf. During the last minutes of last night’s game against the Boston Bruins, Phaneuf laid a dangerous hit on Bruins rookie defenseman Kevan Miller. Here’s the video of the hit.

It’s a sure thing that Phaneuf will be be punished for his hit. It’s just a question of whether it will be a fine or a suspension. He has never been suspended before so that should probably be taken into account.

It seems as though everything is pointing towards Phaneuf getting suspended. Since he has no suspensions on his record, hopefully it will be only for two or three games at most.

Phaneuf has been the most consistent of all the Leafs defensemen, so losing him for any amount of games will hurt the Leafs immensely. He might not be lighting up the scoreboard with goals, but he has been tremendous defensively as he is tied for 15th in the NHL in plus/minus.

So what do you guys think? Will Phaneuf get suspended and if so, for how long?

Tags: Dion Phaneuf Toronto Maple Leafs

7 Comments on Toronto Maple Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf to Face Hearing for Dangerous Hit

  1. Tim Bayer says:

    Two or three games, probably. I disagree with you about Phaneuf being good defensively though. He and Gunnarsson have two of the three worst shot attempt differentials in the league among d-men. They face tough competition, but those two are really struggling defensively.

    • Stan Smith says:

      Going to agree with Jeff and disagree with you on this one too Tim (at least I’m consistent). Most games the leafs are able to shut down the opposition’s top line, which is Phaneuf’s & Gunnarson’s job. It is usually the other lines that do the damage against them. He does make mistakes, like on the Lucic/Iglinia goal, but I agree he has been their best dman by far this year.

      • Tim Bayer says:

        The numbers disagree with you. That pairing gives up a ton of chances. It’s Reimer and Bernier who bail them out continually.

        • Stan Smith says:

          You should know by now that saying the numbers do not agree with me is like saying a coffee table doesn’t agree with me. Just the same as a team would not have a hope in hell in winning without a goalie, the goalie wouldn’t have a hope in hell without players in front of him. Just as shots on net have no relationship to to shots going in the net shot differentials mean absolutely nothing. It is the ones that end up in the net that count, period! Teams win as a team and lose as a team.

          • Tim Bayer says:

            First of all, the numbers tell us what happened in a game, without the inherent biases our flawed memories hold. That’s it. A coffee table can’t tell me anything.

            Secondly, I’ll point to an excerpt from this post:

            “Hockey is a game of scoring goals and preventing the other team from scoring them. But goals are relatively rare events in hockey, so relying purely on goal-based stats to predict future performance is dicey.

            If we can’t rely on goals, though, we need something that’s more common and acts as a reasonably good stand-in. For many of hockey’s advanced stats, that’s puck possession. After all, you can’t score if you don’t have the puck, and you can’t be scored on if you do. (Unless you are Chris Phillips.) And since one team or the other has the puck for the majority of every hockey game, we’ve got far more to work with than if we relied just on goals.”

            Which is why we look at shot attempts, otherwise known as corsi (shots, blocked shots and missed shots) and fenwick (same thing minus blocked shots). Also from the above post:

            “Corsi and Fenwick turn out to be great predictors ( of future success. Learn to love them.”

            I recommend checking out both of those links. So yes, shot attempts actually do correlate with winning percentage, much more than simply looking at goals (which vary wildly). The Leafs give up a lot of shot attempts, but luckily employ two very good goaltenders who have been keeping most of them out of the net. When those goalies falter, even slightly, the Leafs are in trouble.

          • Stan Smith says:

            The problem with those stats is that it is strictly all about puck possession. Over the years I have seen players who can skate circles around other players with the puck but defensively didn’t have a clue and more times than not after a 15 minute end to end rush would end up either coughing it up or at best some kind of weak attempt at a shot on net. A player like Rod Langway that wasn’t that fast and didn’t handle the puck well, or often but was great at blocking shots, guiding a forward to the outside and rubbing him out along the boards would have terrible numbers.

            I know Carlyle likes players who play well “without the puck” Three such players in the leafs are Bozak, McClement and Phaneuf. At the same time he wants his players defensively to take away space and try and smother the top opposition players allowing others to shoot the puck, while at the same time keeping the shooting lanes clear so the goalie can see it. Unlike Wilson, who wanted everyone to try and block shots to create turnovers, the closest defender between the shooter and the net tries to take the lane away but those closer to the net are to clear a path in case he fails. Under Wilson they gave up fewer shots but more goals. Under Carlyle more shots fewer goals.

            You can argue that Carlyle’s success in Anaheim was due to great players but there a couple of points there that are interesting. They regularly got outshot. They had great goaltending. They didn’t get outshot a badly as the leafs are getting and I am sure Carlyle would like to improve on that.

            Last but not least. Everyone talks about how weak the leafs are defensively. I disagree. I think they are weak offensively. They are weak at moving the puck forward for long lengths of time. They are weak at maintaining the puck for any length of time in the opposing team’s zone. They are weak at cycling and forechecking.

          • Tim Bayer says:

            Sure, a player like Scott Gomez has good possession numbers but suffers from an abnormally low shooting percentage. These guys don’t score a lot, but I think they’re still useful because they’re able to keep the puck in the opposition’s end. There are some “defense-first” defensemen who do well in possession, but I think as a whole the league is more geared towards puck-moving D, guys like Jake Gardiner, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith and Nick Leddy who can clear the zone quickly and start a counter-attack.

            I don’t really see any evidence that Carlyle’s system allows easier shots for the goalie to see. Most of the goals Bernier and Reimer have let in lately seem to be from point shots with traffic in front. Or you can go back to Game 7 last year, most of the goals scored by the Bruins during their comeback were scored because the Leafs sat back and allowed them to pound shots from the point with traffic. And I think clearly Wilson’s teams were sunk by awful goaltending, although he did have some questionable coaching methods. If those Wilson teams had Reimer or Bernier, they would’ve been in the playoffs I think.

            I think the issues you state with the Leafs are all correct, but most of those issues stem from troubles in their end. They can’t break out effectively. The forwards skate back into the zone too far, allowing no outlet options for the D when they finally get possession. They often lose track of their men and before you know it the puck is in the back of the net.

            But yes, this is all related to puck possession. As Mike Babcock said, “Possession is everything.” Carlyle needs to fix these issues or Nonis needs to find players who can play this style of game, because I don’t think we see this team take “the next step” until that happens.

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