TORONTO - For the second time in two years, Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf has been voted the NHL’s most overrated player in a Sports Illustrated poll of his peers.
And that sent general manager Brian Burke flying over the boards to defend him.
The magazine sampled 161 players, presumably including some Leafs, and results came back with Phaneuf topping 10 players, with Alexander Ovechkin second, Roberto Luongo fourth and Toronto teammate Mike Komisarek 10th.
“Whoever fills out the ballot has a room-temperture IQ,” Burke thundered Wednesday night during an interview on The Fan 590. “What player votes in a poll like this? I will speak slowly when I see (them) because you’re obviously a cretin.”
Phaneuf, having his best season as a Leaf with nearly 30 points, might not be the Norris Trophy candidate as some suggest, but the captain is not overrated. He could, however, be getting over-exposure in the big Toronto media market.
“You know what it is? (Some) people hate the Maple Leafs,” Burke claimed. “They hate that we’re the centre of the hockey universe.
“I’ve told (people) today, fly to Ottawa (on Jan. 28) and discuss this with him, because he’s a starter in the all-star game.”
Phaneuf had departed the MasterCard Centre on Wednesday afternoon when the poll was released and was unavailable for comment. In 2010, when he was given the same dubious title, he diplomatically said that players were entitled to their opinion.