Kessel’s defense ‘means a lot’ to Phaneuf

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It’s been an eventful couple days for Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and much of it was likely trying for him to say the very least. Phaneuf, a man who said the Leafs trade talks “wears on you,” was a popular deadline day subject as reports surfaced that Detroit was trying to acquire his services.

At the same time, an inappropriate Tweet involving him made it onto the air on TSN, which led to the threat of a lawsuit. TSN has since unreservedly apologized.

That’s all in addition to the Toronto’s on-ice struggles since mid-December.

Without getting into specifics, Phil Kessel launched into a passionate defense of his captain in light of what Kessel feels has been an unfair treatment of Phaneuf by the media.

“It means a lot that Phil said that,” said Phaneuf, per TSN. “I have a lot of respect for Phil and the way that he deals with everything.”

Phaneuf insists that despite everything that has happened, he remains “extremely proud” to be a member of the Maple Leafs. He still might end up being traded over the summer though as the Maple Leafs look towards the future after enduring a string of annual collapses.