Leafs name Phaneuf captain
The Toronto Maple Leafs put the C on defenceman Dion Phaneuf on Monday.
The 25-year-old Phaneuf was acquired last January in a blockbuster deal with the Calgary Flames and had 10 points in 26 games with the Leafs last season.
For the full season, he notched 12 goals and 20 assists in 81 games, with 83 penalty minutes.
Head coach Ron Wilson has said the blue-liner had a major influence on the team's young locker-room after his arrival, although it wasn't enough to prevent Toronto from finishing last in the Eastern Conference with 74 points.
Several current Leafs were on hand for the announcement, including Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn, as well as former captain Wendel Clark.
Phaneuf said he learned a lot from Flames captain Jarome Iginla when they were teammates. He added he hopes to follow the example set by Iginla and former NHL captains Mark Messier, Scott Stevens and Clark.
"You look at how they play the game and how they lead," Phaneuf said. "I think the best way to lead is you don't have to be the loudest guy but you definitely want to be the guy who's working the hardest day in and day out."
Toronto hasn't had a captain since Mats Sundin left the team in the summer of 2008. Phaneuf becomes the 17th captain in franchise history.
The Leafs also unveiled its new home and road sweaters.
The two stripes on the arm and the 11-point Leafs' front crest remain unchanged but the team has brought back the two horizontal stripes around the waist. The veined Leaf logo with no interior lettering will return on the sweater as a shoulder patch as it did from 1992 to 2000.
In addition, a string lace collar will replace the V-shaped collar. The lettering and numbers of the sweaters will also be single layered again, without an outside trim.
"Our fans were pretty adamant that they missed the waist stripes, they missed the shoulder patch and so we worked with the league to bring it back," said Tom Anselmi, the chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
The Maple Leafs will debut the uniform in their pre-season opener Sept. 21 against the visiting Ottawa Senators.
"I like the look, I think it really respects our tradition, said Leafs GM Brian Burke. "I think it's sharp looking and I can't wait to see the guys come on the ice with them."
It's the first modification to the uniform in three years. The team's nostalgic white third sweater that debuted in 1998-99 will remain the same.
"We have to be respectful of the brand, we have to be respectful of the logo," Burke said. "You're not going to see us wearing crazy third sweaters or anything like a lot of teams do. This is one of the most recognizable logos on the planet, in the history of professional sports.
"We want to be respectful of that and we think this sweater does that."