Riding a two-game winning streak and feeling like the world is their oyster again, Captain Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto Maple Leafs come to Calgary tonight to face the Flames. This will mark the first time that he will play as a visitor in the Saddledome since Dion Phaneuf was traded from the Flames to the Maple Leafs on January 31, 2010. It will also be the first time that Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan will face their old team in blue.
Phaneuf was greeted with boos in Edmonton on Tuesday night, which is understandable since he was a member of the Calgary Flames for the better part of five seasons. As he often seems to, Phaneuf made his mark on the game, both offensively (scoring the first goal) and defensively (letting Jordan Eberle undress him to score the Oilers first goal).
To be honest, I’m not sure what kind of reception Dion can expect here in Calgary. His departure was controversial and definitely big news (my Buh-Bye Dion Phaneuf post continues to me my most read article almost a year later) but it wasn’t a sore spot for most fans. We all knew that he was a problem in the Flames dressing room and the majority of us were happy to see him go to a new team. His departure wasn’t marred by bad feelings like, say, Cleveland Cavaliers fans, but then again, Dion’s not as big of a deal as Lebron James.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see some fans boo when Phaneuf touches the puck for the first time, and it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to say that a few Flames players will be looking for a perfect opportunity to nail Phaneuf through the boards for his “youthful indiscretions” last season. Whatever the case, it will be an interesting game to watch and you can be sure that there will be a lot of Leafs fans in attendance.