Well take a look at this shit… Dion Phaneuf returns to the Olympic, or Scotiabank Saddledome to face the Calgary Flames for the first time since getting the hell out of that mess.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Calgary Flames (9:30 ET)
To boo, or not to boo? That is the question. The Leafs are prepared for the boo birds to rain ‘em down every time Phaneuf touches the puck, whether or not he deserves to be booed is a whole other deal. We all get it, a star player that leaves town while patrolling the doghouse is usually going to hear it from his former fans upon a return – but it’s not as though Phaneuf was asking to be dealt (a la Dany Heatley).
Dion Phaneuf was once seen as cornerstone for the Flames’ future, he was to be a superstar defenceman for some impressionable Flames’ fans. He was sent packing for Toronto on January 31st, 2010 with the promise of a fresh start in hockey’s biggest fish bowl. Nearly a year later, Phaneuf has looked much like the player he was in his last couple of season with Calgary – overflowing with raw ability, unmatched energy, and a penchant for making dumb decisions.
The return that Darryl Sutter netted for Phaneuf hasn’t exactly led to an improvement in Calgary. That, perhaps, is the source for discontentment with Phaneuf in Flames nation.
For the fans at the Saddledome, it’s an opportunity to try and get under the skin of one of their former favourites. As for Phaneuf, you have to imagine he’ll look to take the crowd out of the game early with a big hit, a contribution on the offensive end… or if we’re lucky, a fight.
Will they boo? Should they boo? Let’s see what’s being said:
Yes, his plyonic defensive play was maddening, and his inconsistency (and lack of a no-movement clause) made him expendable. Yes, there were seismic rumblings of locker room strife.
But that the end of his time in Calgary, was there any doubt the guy gave all? That his hustle couldn’t be questioned? The NHL is littered with “good riddance” trades; even if Phaneuf’s was at the time, what about with hindsight for Flames fans?
If anyone should be booed at this point it should be Darryl Sutter. Through the trade and the subsequent contracts to Ian White and Matt Stajan he torpedoed the notion that he’s peddling now that the deal was meant to create cap space in order to (over)pay Mark Giordano and Rene Bourque.
The excellently named Dome Beers:
Why boo Dion, besides the fact the Captain had no problem trading him? Well, how about the fact that when Dion was first asked about who his leadership influences were, upon being named Captain of the Maple Leafs, he answered with ‘Bryan Marchment’? You want to know why we think Dion is a punk? That’s why, that’s the illustration of punkness right there.
But please, if you are going to boo Dion, whatever your reason, remember to also boo the guy who failed to create a bidding war for #3′s services. Save some throat for the ’Fire Darryl’ chant.
Getting Greasy With the Waffles
Our Prediction: The Leafs will win this battle, and it could make for a decent game if both clubs show up. Phaneuf will drop the gloves, and the decision – giving the fans something to make some noise about. Dion gets the last laugh when he scores on his former club…