Yesterday it was finally made official, #3 Dion Phaneuf was named the 18th captain in Toronto Maple Leafs History, or the 22nd in Toronto history if you include the Arenas and St. Pats.
There has been talk of Dion being named captain for months now. There's no hiding that Wilson loved what Dion brought to the table, even with all the rumours coming out of Calgary. Those rumours of course were that Dion was a poison in the locker room and he didn't want to be there. However he had an immediate impact when he came to the Leafs, and the players and coaches have all said the opposite of Dion.
During the press conference Monday both Wilson and Burke said they wanted to make sure that the next captain could live up to the legends that have worn the "C" for the Leafs. I'm not 100% convinced yet that Dion can fill those shoes. That's not to say he won't be a good captain, but I still think it's a bit premature.
Dion Phaneuf is a very talented NHL defenseman and only makes the Leafs better, but only time will tell if he is captain material. The short time he played on the Leafs last season he did show a lot of on ice leadership and was definitely the catalyst in getting other Leafs to throw the body around. But again I caution Burke and Wilson, because comparing him to the likes on Mats Sundin, Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler, and George Armstrong is huge.
I personally would have waited 1 more season to name a captain to make sure Dion is what everyone thinks he is. But I will agree with Wilson and Burke on the fact that there is nobody else on the Leafs who encompasses everything they're looking for in a player.
I am happy Dion is captain, but I am "cautiously happy" about it. Anything can happen and until the new season has begun I will remain "cautiously happy".
The new jersey's that the Leafs unveiled yesterday look really good and I like the throwback that is has involved. They re-added the vintage maple leaf on the shoulder that was there from 1992 to 2000, and they brought back the white stripes around the waist that so many Leafs fans missed for the last 3 seasons. But my favourite addition is the string lace that replaces the "V" shaped collar.
There's a lot of new for the upcoming season; new captain, new jersey’s, hopefully a new outlook of team physicality, and a few new players. It's exciting, just like every off season, but only time will tell if the excitement is warranted or not.
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