Leafs' Phaneuf out 4-6 weeks
Struggling defenceman needed surgery after suffering deep cut to left leg
General manager Brian Burke can rest easy for a little while. Well, sort of.
He confirmed Wednesday that Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf will miss four to six weeks of action after sustaining a deep gash to the inside of his left leg, just above his knee, when he got tangled up with Ottawa's Peter Regin in the second period of Tuesday's 3-2 loss.
Phaneuf needed assistance to get to the team's dressing room and had exploratory surgery later that night, the team said in a release Wednesday.
According to cable sports network TSN, the cut was deep enough that doctors needed to go in fully to determine the extent of the damage. They found a slight nick in his medial collateral ligament that required a couple of stitches to repair.
Between the first and second periods, Burke held court with the media to blast the "small number" of Maple Leafs fans who have been booing his captain recently and called the heckling "disgusting."
At Tuesday's morning skate, Phaneuf didn't seem bothered by the recent actions by fans.
"[The fans] want to win just as bad as we want to win," he told reporters afterward. "Our job is to win hockey games, that's what we're here to do.
"They're going to voice their opinions and sometimes it's bad. They deserve to see wins. It's not for a lack of effort, that's for sure."
The 25-year-old Phaneuf hasn't exactly starred on the Toronto blue-line in the first four weeks of the season, often looking out of position and failing to score in 11 games.
He has four assists and a team-worst minus-6 rating.
Despite the ugly numbers, Phaneuf is happy with his game.
"I feel good. I'm getting pucks through [to the net], I'm getting [scoring] chances," said the hard-hitting 6-foot-3, 215-pounder. "If I wasn't getting the puck on net (he tops the Leafs with 37 shots) and getting those chances, I'd be worried."
Phaneuf was acquired from Calgary in a seven-player deal on Jan. 31 and scored just two goals and 10 points in 26 games with the Maple Leafs last season while posting a minus-2 rating.
The Maple Leafs recalled defenceman Korbinian Holzer from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
In eight games with the Marlies, Holzer has no points and 17 penalty minutes.