Dion Phaneuf’s Return: What It Means For The Maple Leafs’ Defense Core

December 8th, 2010 by Jon Neely Leave a reply »
Dion Phaneuf was lucky when the skate of Ottawa Senators forward Peter Regin sliced his thigh and caused him to miss over a month of action. It could have been much, much worse. 

The Maple Leafs might get lucky and see their captain return earlier than expected Thursday night at home to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

He went down on November 2 and underwent surgery to repair his MCL. Since then, the Leafs have been playing without their captain and main voice in the dressing room. 

The team has gone a pedestrian 5-8-3 without him, though they have won their last two games, both in a shootout, and have recorded points in three of their past four games. Needless to say, the return of Phaneuf will be a boost to a club that finds themselves still in search of an identity. And a winning streak. 

With Phaneuf's return comes a demotion for one of the current blue-liners that have been filling the void since he went down. The decision of who comes out for Phaneuf might be a little more difficult than coach Ron Wilson may have expected, but count it as a good thing for a club whose defense is finally starting to look like a $23 ...

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