Prior to January 31st, 2010, I had a much different opinion of Dion Phaneuf than I have now. I thought he was a cocky, arrogant, overpaid bastard. I was extremely glad to not see him named to the Olympic team, and wished I could stop hearing from Calgary fans (and Pierre MacGuire) about how great he is. Then, Burke pulled off the trade, and I did an about face. Why? Well, initially I was angry. I had received at text from TSN at 8am on a Sunday morning, which read: "Dion Phaneuf has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs." That was it. He was a Leaf, and I didn't know what we had given up. I had a shot of fear that Schenn was included. Then, when I logged on here and then saw Burke's presser and learned that we'd given up players that I didn't like along with Ian White, and received not only Phaneuf but also Aulie, my whole world changed.
Something happens to a player when they don the blue and white. I still see Phaneuf as cocky and arrogant. He's still overpaid. But now, he is our cocky, arrogant bastard. And I love that I can freely use those words to describe our new captain. I feel like if someone made a 1967 joke to Dion, he'd grab one of his rocks and hit them over the head before making some statement about "Me love Leafs". Sure, this could all go down the crapper and having a 25 year old defenseman who has regressed the past two years and was unwanted in his previous team's dressing room as your captain could be a bad idea. It's hard to argue with those who have reservations on his selection based upon those facts. But he's now my captain, and I will defend him just as strongly as I defended Mats Sundin when he was our captain. I hope he deserves it.
Now on to the links.
Leafs Announce Team-Branded Vuvuzelas
Jeffler gives us the low-down on what else the Leafs meant to announce at yesterday's press conference.
A hockey fan's guide to the World Cup
Written by DGB.
Leafs Jerseys and Phaneuf Captaincy Becomes Official
Jeffler's reaction to yesterday's press conference - and congrats to his mock-up of the new jerseys being nearly spot on.
Leafs introduce Phaneuf as team captain
The Globe's article. Linked simply because the comments are so amazingly dumb.
Free Agent Food For Thought
Leafs Fan Forever welcomes Dion and says no to Marleau and Kovalchuk.
Andy Bathgate: Ex-Leaf great class on and off the ice
This is pretty cool - Vintage Leaf Memories, who once interviewed Andy Bathgate in 1976, also had a chance to interview him yesterday.
We Are Pleased To Introduce... Two Stripes and A Patch!
Yakov Mironov welcomes Dion as Captain and tells you what he thinks about the changes to the jersey.
Toronto Maple Leafs announce Dion Phaneuf as Captain
Here's TML Fan Fury chiming in with his 2 cents.
From Mats to Dion: A New Era Dawns in Leafs Nation
The Hockey Writers notes the many differences between our last Captain and our Current one.
Stripes and shoulder patch return as Toronto Maple Leafs unveil new uniforms
The Hockey News with their coverage, but they also have a cool picture of Wendel anointing the new Captain.
The Phaneuf Era
mf37 has some interesting reservations about Phaneuf being named Captain. It's hard to fault him for any of these. He also notes that noone seems to agree on how many captains the Leafs have had.
Phaneuf Named 18th Captain in Leafs History
MLHS tells us in whose footsteps Dion has to follow. Those are some impressive names.
ESPN: No Kovalchuk for Leafs
MLHS responds to Pierre LeBrun's statement from Burke that the Leafs won't be in the bidding for Kovalchuk.
Leafs "Very Interested" in Patrick Sharp
MLHS finds another media rumour to report on.