Phaneuf Bringing Leafs to Life

Larry Brooks’ Sunday column was all about how dull most of the season has been.

This has been a slow season. The Olympic break took a lot of momentum out of the playoff chase. The trade deadline was quiet. This season has felt longer than previous ones.

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some interesting moments.

For instance, even though Toronto has been out of the playoffs for months, they’re kind of hard not to watch, what with Dion Phaneuf taking over the locker room.

Phaneuf was considered somewhat off-putting in Calgary because he was a big personality in a room full of lots of big personalities. It sometimes seemed like he didn’t know when it was appropriate to turn off the swagger.

But now, in Toronto, where there isn’t a lot of swagger, he seems to be inspiring the team. Coach Ron Wilson even credits Phaneuf with getting everyone playing better.

If Toronto were anywhere near the playoffs, people would be spending more time talking about Phaneuf being brought to the Leafs. It was a huge move that should have the Leafs better positioned for next season.

So while I agree with Brooks, there are some pockets of unexpected excitement in this season. Of course, that one of the pockets of excitement is with the worst team in the Eastern Conference probably isn’t a great sign.