Dion Phaneuf has had to to deal with a lot of criticism during his tenure as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most people in the Greater Toronto Area don’t believe him to be captain-material. The criticism gets even worse when he doesn’t play well.
This has led to many problems for Phaneuf and during the Leafs recent eight-game losing streak, it might have come to a head. After the loss to the St. Louis Blues, Phaneuf did not speak to the media.
Now as captain, it is pretty much your responsibility to answer for your team both on and off the ice. Phaneuf’s absence after that game raised some eyebrows. It’s one thing if Phil Kessel doesn’t show up, it’s another if it’s Phaneuf.
One of the knocks against Phaneuf is his ‘apparent’ lack of leadership. If that’s true, there are few other Leafs who could take that role and do well with it. The Leafs two assistant captains are Joffrey Lupul and Jay McClement. Lupul would probably be the replacement if the Leafs took the ‘C’ off of Phaneuf’s jersey.
I have been a defender of Phaneuf’s status as captain since he started, but perhaps it is time to change things up. Fears of his play diminishing shouldn’t be looked into too much if you look at Patrick Marleau‘s situation with the San Jose Sharks. They stripped him of their captaincy and he’s been to two Winter Olympics since. Worked out pretty well for him. Maybe taking the pressure of being the captain off of Phaneuf will help his game like it did Marleau’s.
There could be a lot of changes surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs this off-season. Phaneuf’s place as captain could be one of them.
What do you think?