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article imageToronto Maple Leafs unveil new Captain and new team jersey

By Carolyn E. Price     Jun 14, 2010 in Sports
As expected, today the Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled a new look jersey and named Dion Phaneuf as their 18th Captain in Maple Leaf history.
There is much speculation in Leafdom as to why name Phaneuf now? Sceptics are saying its been two months since the Leafs played their last game, the dreaded draft is coming up, so deflect deflect deflect. (Toronto traded away their 2nd overall pick to Boston for Phil Kessel, amongst other picks!)
Today, a press conference was held at Real Sports Bar & Grill, located just outside the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Air Canada Center and streamed over the web at Leafspace Live.
Several years ago, another Calgary Flame was traded to the Leafs and eventually became the Captain. Similar to today, there was controversy surrounding the player leaving although with Doug Gilmour's departure it was more of a personal and moral matter. With Phaneuf it has been all about what happened in "the room."
Gilmour went on to become one of the hardest working Leafs ever, he took the team to great heights and became one of the more beloved Leafs of all time.
If, as many have intimated, there were problems in the dressing room between Phaneuf, the coach and his teammates, why would the Leafs name Phaneuf as the Captain? Just one of the many questions swirling around.
Wendal Clark, Daryl Sitler and George Armstrong (all former Captains), each wearing a sweater from their own era, all joined GM Brian Burke, Head Coach Ron Wilson and Dion Phaneuf at today's presser where Burke said that they were introducing a "new sweater that returns us to our roots" and also mentioned that the jersey was something that the fans have been asking for.
The jersey's have added double white piping on the bottom, the crest on the chest from the 70's is still the same, the older version of the leaf crest is on the shoulders, the numbers and letters do not have an outline around them any more and there is a white lacing forming a V at the neck.
Burke told those gathered that it had been two years that the Leafs had been without a captain, since Mats Sundin left. Burke then went on to dramatically pronounce that:
This is not just another NHL team. this is the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is one of the great brands of professional sports on the planet.
He said that the Leafs needed a captain who played with passion and was ready, willing and able to lead both on and off the ice. Burke also stressed that the choice of a Captain was the prerogative of the coach and then introduced Ron Wilson.
Ron Wilson introduced Dion Phaneuf as the latest captain who then donned the new sweater with the number 3 and the C stitched just over his heart. Phaneuf seems to be a man of few words but had the following to say:
We have a lot of work to do and we will work together. We have a good team and have a lot to be excited about.
Dion thanked some current Leafs who were there to show their support, including Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozek and Luke Schenn. Does Schenn's appearance settle some of the rumors of an imminent trade? Only time will tell.
Phaneuf has played 28 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored 2 goals, had 8 assists and was a -2. Some will say these are not "leadership" numbers. Others will say that by being annoited with the Captaincy will spur Phaneuf on to greatness. Still others will say the C could and will ruin him.
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