Dion Phaneuf 'not happy' about suspension | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaDion Phaneuf 'not happy' about suspension

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 02:37 PM

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Dion Phaneuf will sit out Toronto's next two games as punishment from the NHL for a hit from behind. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Dion Phaneuf will sit out Toronto's next two games as punishment from the NHL for a hit from behind. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Dion Phaneuf was not pleased about being dinged with a two-game suspension Tuesday for his hit from behind on Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller on Sunday night.
Dion Phaneuf will take his punishment, but that doesn't mean he's happy with it.

The Toronto Maple Leafs captain was dinged with a two-game suspension Tuesday for his hit from behind on Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller on Sunday night, late in the third period of a home loss to Boston.

Phaneuf was not penalized on the play.


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"I obviously have to accept it and move forward," Phaneuf said. "I'm not happy about being suspended. I have taken pride in playing a physical game for a long time, and I have taken pride in playing within the rules and doing it the right way. So I am disappointed in the hit and the suspension."

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle expressed surprise that his star defenceman was suspended.

"We support our player," Carlyle said. "We thought the Miller kid kind of went off balance, but with the criteria that the league takes into account, obviously they felt it was warranted.

"We have a different opinion of it. They don't take our opinions so you accept it and you move on."

Phaneuf will miss Wednesday's home game against Los Angeles and Thursday's game against the Blues in St. Louis.

The defenceman boasts a team-best plus-12 rating and leads Toronto in ice time, averaging 24:13 per game. He ranks seventh on the Leafs with 12 points in 31 games.

"We've got guys in here who are going to step up," Phaneuf said. "It's obviously part of the game that is not fun to deal with, but I am confident in the team we have."

Phaneuf will forfeit $66,666.66 US in salary that will be given to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Naughty boys

Phaneuf is the fifth Maple Leaf to be suspended this season. Right-winger David Clarkson got 10 games for leaving the bench to engage in a fight in the pre-season, centre Nazem Kadri was dinged for three games after conking Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom on the head, Carter Ashton received a two-game ban for boarding Calgary's Derek Smith, and Phil Kessel sat out three pre-season games for slashing Buffalo's John Scott.

Lupul optimistic

Joffrey Lupul has been out two weeks with a pulled groin, but said after practice Tuesday he will likely play Wednesday against the Kings.

"You want to come back and help the team, especially when the team is struggling, but if you are going to come back at not 100 per cent and risk going out of the lineup again you're not making the right decision for the right reasons," Lupul said. "I think I'm ready to play."

Good penalties vs. bad penalties

The Maple Leafs' penalty killing has not been good of late, and losing a player such as Phaneuf, who eats up a lot of shorthanded time, will hurt. Carlyle said he can live with some penalties, but others make him cringe.

"If you take a penalty to prevent a goal or in the defensive zone where somebody has a clear-cut scoring chance or to defend a teammate, usually those ones will wash out," Carlyle said. "But the ones that are 200 feet from the net, the ones we deem to be lazy penalties, those are unacceptable."

Spotlight in the crease

No matter who starts in goal Wednesday for the Maple Leafs, goaltending in this particular game has the potential to be a great storyline -- as long as the Kings start former Leaf Ben Scrivens.

If Scrivens plays for Los Angeles and James Reimer starts for Toronto, then you have a matchup of the duo that got the Maple Leafs into the playoffs last season.

If the Leafs opt for Jonathan Bernier, then the 25-year-old Laval, Que., native will play against the team that drafted him 11thoverall in 2006. Bernier played parts of five seasons with the Kings, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011-12, but was never able to secure the No. 1 goalie's job.

Scrivens, by the way, has played superbly for the Kings with starter Jonathan Quick out with a groin injury. He is 7-2-4 and has the best save percentage in the NHL at .943. His goals-against average of 1.56 ranks No. 2 in the league and he is tied for the NHL lead in shutouts with three.

It helps when you are playing on a team that has not allowed more than two goals in regulation and overtime for 15 straight games.

Welcome Matt

Toronto welcomes the return of right-winger Matt Frattin who, along with Scrivens, was traded to Los Angeles for Bernier last summer. Frattin started off playing on the Kings' top line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, but lately has been getting third- and fourth-line duty. He has also been a healthy scratch. Frattin has two goals and six points in 25 games and is minus-7.

The Maple Leafs, by the way, are paying $437,500 of Frattin's salary this season as well as $62,500 of Scrivens's salary.

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