While the Toronto Maple Leafs weren’t exactly the best team in the NHL (5-5-1 then) when Dion Phaneuf went on the shelf with a deep laceration on his left leg on November 2nd, they’ve clearly missed their big defenseman/captain. Without Phaneuf, the team went 5-8-3 and earned yet another round of firing talk for their coach Ron Wilson.
Now, it’s not accurate to assume that Phaneuf (0 goals, four assists for four points in 11 games with a -6 rating) would have made much of a difference during that streak, but the Leafs will almost certainly be glad to have him back beginning tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.
TSN reports that the big defenseman will be back along with beleaguered goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, though it’s unclear if Giguere will start or if Jonas Gustavsson will play in back-to-back games at this point. It’s going to be tough for the middling Maple Leafs to avoid two straight losses to the cream of the crop in the East, but getting Giguere and Phaneuf back should at least improve their chances.