SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter fails to clarify dressing room 'issues'

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 AM ET

Eight months after making a post-season insinuation Dion Phaneuf was the root of his club’s dressing room “issues,” Darryl Sutter says he had no interest in clarifying or backing off his remarks.

“That’s something the players should address,” he said curtly.

The Flames players were all given that chance yesterday, and predictably, none took the liberty of going public with any hint of dissention, denying all of the endless rumours surrounding the polarizing blueliner.

(The closest anyone came to showing their disdain was when Robyn Regehr diplomatically described Phaneuf simply as “Loud. Energetic. You always knew when he walked in the room,” which could be interpreted several ways.)

Sutter’s stance will be disappointing news for Phaneuf.

The Leafs captain, who spent the day away at his grandmother’s funeral and was thus unavailable following his club’s practice at the Dome, recently told the Toronto Sun he is still bothered by Sutter’s suggestion he was a disruptive force.

Fact is, Phaneuf’s strong personality rubbed many players the wrong way, especially in a room full of veterans who believed he acted in a fashion far beyond his years.

Maybe it was jealousy in many cases, but the divide between the 25-year-old defenceman and most others was too big to ignore, especially after he was given a six-year $39-million deal — one of the richest ever following an entry-level contract.

“Dion is all about Dion,” said one team member on the condition of anonymity.

“He just wouldn’t buy in. Darryl did the only thing he could do — he had to trade him. You can’t keep that in the dressing room.”


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