Is it a collector’s item? Or a relic?
Dion Phaneuf is gone and it has to be a time of mixed emotions for Canucks fans.
The Flames have traded a young stud defenseman, who’s only 24, was a Norris Trophy finalist at an unbelievably young age, and has an upside that has been compared to Chris Pronger or Scott Stevens for the proverbial bag of pucks. It’s looking more and more like an NBA style salary cap trade with the Flames getting two UFAs (Matt Stajan and Jamal Mayers), one RFA (Ian White) and one mediocre player (Niklas Hagman) with a contract amount and term that can’t excite any Flames fan. Then you add the Olli Jokinen trade, excluding the small parts, amounts to Jokinen for Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins. Now maybe Higgins can recapture what he once had in Motreal and contribute to Flames for many years to come. Oh, wait, he’s a UFA too. So really we’re just left with a problem for problem trade, Darryl Sutter trading his gonorrhea for Glen Sather’s herpes. With both these trades the Flames brass look somewhere between desperately confused and confusedly desperate. I wish I had Darryl’s phone number because I’ve got one quarter, two dimes and a nickel that I’ve been looking to trade for a dollar.
All told, this has to be viewed as a fantastic result from a Canucks’ perspective. Anyone who watched the Canucks/Leafs game on Saturday can’t be impressed with the collection of players the Flames pried out of Toronto. There’s no one on the Leafs roster, short of Phil Kessel or Luke Schenn, that Brian Burke wouldn’t have given up for Phaneuf. And why is that? Because the Leafs don’t have anybody. Sutter should’ve been able to find a more, shall we say, suitable dance partner. Maybe a team that has actual NHL level talent. Have the Flames improved? No, Sutter’s just bent over backwards to clean up a mess he created.
So, why the mixed emotions? I’m going to miss good ole Dion. I know i really played up Phaneuf’s potential, but on the whole I think he inspired more laughter than fear in Canuck fans. Who’s going to fall ass over tea kettle while trying to fight?
Who will the Canucks fans get to mock for having vaguely cro magnon features? All the giveaways in his own zone, all the lazy defensive zone coverage, they are all gone. I guess you just don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Plus, we won’t have the chance marvel at the man who takes up Sean Avery’s sloppy (I’ll stop right there, because I know if I continue I’ll be committing a suspendable offense in Gary Bettman’s NHL).
Luckily for us, he’s going from the team we hate the most to the the team we most love to hate. I’m sure all those shy wallflowers at TSN, Sportsnet, The Score, CBC, the Globe and Mail, and The Fan radio network will do their understated best in in giving us tiny morsels of information on the Leafs newest acquisition. Hopefully what little we get will keep our memories of Dion Phaneuf alive.