Senators forward Stephane Da Costa takes an open-ice hit from Maple Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont., Oct. 8, 2011. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)
OTTAWA - One of the loudest shots ever fired in the Battle of Ontario came from the left shoulder of Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf on Oct. 8, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre
A slight Ottawa Senators rookie, playing in just his sixth NHL game, had accepted a Chris Phillips pass in the neutral zone and, upon crossing the blue line with his head lowered, was roughly introduced to the Ottawa-Toronto rivalry.
Phaneuf’s clean hit put him down like he’d been thrown into a train. His helmet came off and his stick slid into the corner. Taking their objections to the Leafs defenceman were Daniel Alfredsson, then Nick Foligno and finally Phillips. The rookie skated to the Senators bench and sat there dazed as the TV cameras remained focused on him.