Dion Phaneuf grows into role as Maple Leafs' captain

Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf no longer has to lead the team on his own. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)

Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf no longer has to lead the team on his own. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:37 PM ET

He wears blue and white proudly, but it’s all black and white with Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf.

You could get 100 Leafs fans in a room. Fifty would say they love Phaneuf, the fact he eats up valuable minutes against top opposition and is the leader of a playoff-bound NHL club.

Fifty would say he’s not captain material, makes too many defensive mistakes and should be traded.

Why such a split in the public eye?

“He is definitely a polarizing figure,” Leafs defenceman John-Michael Liles said after the team practised on Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

“He is a vocal person, he doesn’t back down, he plays a tough, hard-nosed game. You are in a big market, there is a lot of media attention, and that is how it is sometimes. There are always going to be people poking at you or whatever.”


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