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Phaneuf calls into Toronto radio station, responds to criticism

Mar 26, 2014, 3:58 PM EDT

TORONTO, ON - DECEMEBER 19: Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a faceoff against the Phoenix Coyotes during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 19, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Coyotes 2-1 in an overtime shoot-out. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is taking his critics head on.

The day after Toronto lost its sixth game in a row and fell out of playoff contention, Phaneuf responded to a rant by Sportsnet Fan 590’s Sid Seixeiro — who blasted Phaneuf for not speaking after the loss, adding Phaneuf “has forgotten how to play the game of hockey,” — by calling into the station and defending himself on air.

“To be completely honest with you, I was emotional about the game,” the Toronto captain explained. “I didn’t want to let my emotions get the best of me when I was going to do a scrum.

“Now that I look back on it, I feel bad about not being available. But at that point in time, I was disappointed in the way I played and I was emotional after the game. So that’s the reason why I did not talk.”

Phaneuf then addressed his recent erratic play. He’s minus-4 over the current six-game slide, which included last night’s ugly performance in which he fought the puck repeatedly, made poor passes and was on the ice for three St. Louis goals, including Alex Steen‘s game-winner:

“I made some mistakes that are uncharacteristic of the way that I play,” Phaneuf said of Tuesday’s loss. “I take responsibility for those mistakes.”

With the defeat, Toronto plummeted to 10th in the Eastern Conference. Though four teams — Columbus, Detroit, Washington and Toronto — are all tied on 80 points, the Leafs are on the outside looking in due to a low regulation/overtime win total (27) and the fact they only have eight games remaining (whereas the Jackets and Wings have 10).

That said, Phaneuf says the Leafs are confident they can turn it around.

“There’s no quit in our room,” he said. “We’re going to get out of this and we’re going to come out of this together.

“It’s not like we’ve forgotten how to do what we do. We believe in the group. We believe inside the group that we are capable of doing more and playing better. We have to get that swagger back and we will.”


  1. terrier92 - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Not a fan of the guy but can understand not wanting to talk when you are that emotional. Kid probably wisely avoided making it worse by saying something deemed inappropriate by press. Gotta be tough to face press 10 minutes after tough night in office

    • 7mantel - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      Maybe he watched Richard Sherman’s rant at the end of the Super Bowl and decided against a post game interview.

      • imleftcoast - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        Terrible comparison.

        #1, wasn’t at the end of the Super Bowl.
        #2, Sherman was fired up b/c his play saved the Hawks season.
        #3, Sherman was dumped on by Skip Bayless, and everyone can agree that it’s great to shove it Skip Bayless’s fat face.

      • 7mantel - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        Your right about the SB my bad ! The point I was making was he might not wanted to do a interview while he was hot under the collar !

      • imleftcoast - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        Erin Andrews was the one who breached protocol. She caught him about one minute after the play when you usually give the guy a couple to cool down. He made a great play, and why the Niners tested him is beyond. Throw it anywhere else, and they’re in the SB.

        I agree though that we have no idea what Phaneuf would have said, and why do we expect these guys to be fierce competitors and then composed answering questions? Sherman had no time to switch. Phaneuf had more, but a reason to be pissed off.

      • c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        i think its a great comparison.

        1. act like a complete fool who is out of control and degrading other people
        2. act like an adult and control your emotions and respond with a little integrity, and respect for your peers. maybe not shout or direct anger at the reporter for doing their job. remember how uncomfortable erin andrews looked.

    • joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      Sure is tough. Tougher than cashing the $6.5 million contract though facing the press is part of the responsibility that comes with the job. But! Hey! Let’s feel sorry for the guy who’s paid millions to perform well, wear the C, and face the press.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        since when do they include required talks to the press in contracts?

      • joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        C’mon! Are you serious?

      • ibieiniid - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        i’m just sayin, just because you WANT to see them make fools of themselves after games, doesn’t mean it’s a “responsibility” of theirs. the only reason you think it’s a responsibility is because every time a players skips one, the PRESS flips their collective sh**, and tries to act like it’s a travesty so that they always get their story. it’s not a big deal to me, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that.

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        The NHL has rules that say teams must make players available to the media. The captain is usually one of those guys for obvious reasons. It is the responsibility of the captain to face the press. it comes with the ‘C’… hard to believe anyone would think it’s not part of his job. this isn’t a work to rule campaign here in any case… The criticism is justified especially since there are plenty of teams that shiite the bed and the captain still shows up to face the music. I cant think of a Canucks captain who’s every been selfish or foolish enough to not face the press after a bad game…

      • joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        It’s not about what I want, or what you think. I’m telling you the way it is. Now you may disagree with that, but it is nonetheless the way it works. I’ve been around the block a few times, and know some of the inner workings of a professional organization, and more precisely how hockey players are groomed. But! Hey! Don’t let my life experiences convince you.

        Read a book….. or excerpts from a book…

        “Looking back, I think one of the biggest reason Dennis (Potvin) wore the C was because he was good with the media. He was a real pro with that stuff, and that as a big part of it, especially being in New York with all the media attention that was constantly on us. He was our spokesman, without a doubt, and he seemingly always said the right things to the press. Clark Gillies had worn the C prior to Dennis taking over, and he gave it up because he didn’t want to deal with the media” Dave Langevin

        Source: “Wearing the “C” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

        “We wanted to develop team leaders, and this was a great way for us to do it. The press always wants to talk with the captain when things aren’t going well, so this was an opportunity for them to deal with those types of things, as well. For a month or two, that guy was the team’s figure head or spokesman.” Mike Ramsey

        Source: “Wearing the “C” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

        “When things go south and the team heads into the tank-and they all do-it’s the captain whom the media want to talk to. And they want answers. As the face of the franchise, like it or not, that’s his responsibility.”

        Source: “Wearing the “C” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

      • ibieiniid - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        i’m pretty sure if he’s gonna make himself and his team look like morons, they’d probably be ok with him skipping one. sure, there might be rules, but to have access to any player at any time is not something they include in contracts. he skipped one f’ing presser, holy hell.

        and at this point, do you think the Leafs care more about reporters, or about the consequences of their last 6 games.

      • joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        He wears the C precisely because he’s expected to address the media in a professional & courteous manner. You just don’t get it. Why can’t you admit that? Ask Halford or Brough what they think. As journalists they have a job to do. Not getting access to the captain precludes them from doing their job. Fans want to hear from the C. Not Kadri for example. As a professional sports organization you NEED the press. Why? I’m not sure you’ll get it, but I’ll try to explain it in a few words. The press is the conduit between the organization (i.e. players) and the fans. That relationship helps the marketing team and sales of tickets and merchandise.

      • storminator16 - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        He’s the captain, it IS his responsibility to talk to the press after the game. If he can’t handle that, he shouldn’t be the captain. I for one, don’t over-rate the role of captains but if the captain should do one thing, he should be the guy answering the tough questions after a loss. They give crappy answers anyway, just give a crappy answer or two and walk off into the sun.

      • blomfeld - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        You tell ’em Joey ! :)

      • c9castine - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        i think your being a little criticial and self righteous (surprise!) about a guy who chose to take the time and call in to the media to apologize and make himself available after he felt he had a cool head.

        how is this is irresponsible?

    • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      he’s not a kid. he’s fully grown. how can you call this guy a kid? 18 is an adult in this country, not sure where you are from…

      • terrier92 - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        I’m 60 therefore all NHL’ers are kids to me lol. Lighten up

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        Add to that he’s also in his 9th or 10th season, has been captain of the Leafs for several seasons and he’s no stranger to poor play. This isn’t some rookie who played a bad first game.

        Piggy backing on your comment about Canucks captains, outside of Theoren Fleury (who had the C taken away to be given to Todd Simpson) I can’t think of a Flames captain who would avoid the media like this either.

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        @atwater, have to say that the Canucks and Flames have had some good captains over the years. didn’t realize you were a flames fan until you posted the other day. just as an aside I have to give credit to the flames team for playing hard every night. That’s a team a fan can like and an opposing fan can respect. the oilers and leafs are not in that category in any way shape or form. Getting Burke in was a good move. he doesn’t like to put up with Bull. though Toronto was too much of a basket case for him to fix up in 5 years. he looks a lot more relaxed and less stressed in C-town than he ever did in toronto when his hair would be all over the place like someone just worked him over.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        Yeah they’re fun to watch because they work hard every night, in years past they had more talent but they would take so many night off where they just looked like they were there so they’d get paid. But this year’s team just keeps going at teams, I’m really impressed with what Burke, Hartley and Giordano (who I think is on one of the best contracts in the NHL and would be a Norris candidate if he played in the East) have done with this team.

        I heard a couple of crazy stats, that sound so anti Flame that I barely believe them: 1. Calgary is the highest scoring team in the NHL since the Olympic break. 2. Since the Vancouver incident the Flames have either won or been able to pull the goalie late with a chance to tie the game in every game.

        Vancouver seems to be climbing back into things?

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:19 AM

        Canucks got another big win today. A lot of work left to do despite injuries to two top six guys at an given time (Sedin, Santorelli) and for a lot of time guys are playing hurt who in a different situation would sit out (Burrows/ Kesler/ Daniel). The quality of the guys that got hurt over the season this year is mind boggling. Those 5 guys are 5 of the top six players on the team.

  2. AppealToReason - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    I enjoy how the media guys crap themselves if a player doesn’t chat after a game.

    “OH MAN HOW AM I EVER GOING TO WRITE MY STORY WITHOUT “ya’ know we gotta play 110% and get pucks in deep and do the little things and play our game and…”

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      My only problem with your comment (especially in regard to Phaneuf) is that you left out ” uhhhh” after every third word.

  3. joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Ugly performance indeed.

    dueman, where are you?

    • dueman - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      I can’t make an argument for his performance against the Blues, he played a bad game, but he is a good captain. Choosing to not speak to the media when he’s all worked up is a smart move I think, especially with the vultures that make up the Toronto media circus. Look at what they did with Carlyle’s “he was just okay” line about Reimer….The media roasted Reimer so bad that his wife was getting disgusting messages on her twitter account, and Carlyle didn’t even say that he played bad. The media just used the line to pin the loses on him. The media in Toronto is a different animal than anywhere else, they are absolutely horrible for the players to deal with so I don’t blame him one bit.

      • joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        If you’re honest with yourself you have to go back about 5 or six games to see Phaneuf play well. I remember his mistakes leading to goals vs TB and WSH. As for dodging the media. That’s a no no for the face of the franchise. Great captains don’t do that……

        “When things go south and the team heads into the tank-and they all do-it’s the captain whom the media want to talk to. And they want answers. As the face of the franchise, like it or not, that’s his responsibility.”

        Source: “Wearing the “C” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

      • mrhogan88 - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:20 AM

        The Montreal media is worse. You don’t see Gionta ducking interviews, good or bad.

  4. hosewater2 - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Media acting like they’re entitled to his time. Good response Dion, didn’t need to do this, but I respect you for taking the time to talk these guys trying to make a name for themselves.

  5. Mr. Miller - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    It’s not like he said anything other than what you’d expect – but I like the fact that he took the time to defend himself and answer his critic directly. I think it was a solid move by the guy.

    • storminator16 - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      Should have answered that bell after the game. The fact that he listens to the jerks on the radio would scare me. He just showed his sensitivity card. He’s lunch meat now.

  6. 11111111111a22 - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    I’m sure he was just having trouble picking out socks and tying his bow tie. Lighten up, jerks!

  7. hockey412 - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Impressive that he called in to address it. Not a fan of his, but that’s being a man, even if it is in regard to not being a man…at least that should count for something.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      Sid: and we’ll take a quick commercial break.
      Studio Assistant [into Sid’s phones]: Uhhhhh, hold on there a sec, Sid. There’s somebody on line 1 that wants to get in here before the break.
      Sid: Sportsnet 590, you’re on the air.
      Caller: Hey, it’s Dion.
      Sid: ohhhhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiiiii– DROP OUT! DROP OUT!

  8. ibieiniid - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    how is this a story?

    no no no. not because of the subject matter. I’m just wondering how anybody heard this. it was on AM radio.

    • Mr. Miller - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      I listen to AM radio all the time (in Chicago). Both sports stations as well as the Blackhawks broadcast are on the AM, err, dial.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        lol it was just a joke. there wasn’t much funny about the movie, but the joke premise from Hot Rod (yes, the Andy Samberg one) about trying to revive the life of AM radio with a motorcycle jump has obviously affected my sense of humor a bit.

      • lilgurgi - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        In the Philly area we have 2 sports radio stations that broadcast on AM and FM (may have strictly switched to FM now though). So it’s possible they may have been listening on the FM, or even streaming online as well.

  9. Wineshard - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Not sure if it is a requirement in the NHL, but in the NFL it is fineable if you don’t makes yourself available to the press.

    As a Captain you are the voice of the team. If you cannot accept that responsibility then give the C to someone else.

    • joey4id - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Exactly! Clark Gillies gave up the C because he didn’t want to deal with the press. The very fact that Phaneuf called a radio station is an admission of guilt.

      “Looking back, I think one of the biggest reason Dennis (Potvin) wore the C was because he was good with the media. He was a real pro with that stuff, and that as a big part of it, especially being in New York with all the media attention that was constantly on us. He was our spokesman, without a doubt, and he seemingly always said the right things to the press. Clark Gillies had worn the C prior to Dennis taking over, and he gave it up because he didn’t want to deal with the media” Dave Langevin

      Source: “Wearing the “C” Leadership Secrets from Hockey’s Greatest Captains”, by Ross Bernstein

  10. imgoingtowichita - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Even more respect should be given to Ovi for being the lone Russian to speak just after losing the elimination game. Where was captain #13, Kovalchuk and Geno to face the so overbearing questions about losing a hockey game.
    Granted Dion was upset and I’m sure Elisha laid it out that he best speak sooner rather than later (media 101). Once calmed he did the right thing and spoke (owned) up. Smart is not a term I would use for Double Dion, but he did the right thing after all.

  11. muckleflugga - Mar 26, 2014 at 5:51 PM


    up yours …

    what … the world swings on the ability of some pretentious self-important fop like elliotte friedman to retrieve then distort some worn cliché from a player with limited english

    datsyuk is extremely shy and conscious of his inability to embrace english … players league-wide mock hockey reporters and interviews … openly … for good reason

    they view them like all hangers-on … more whores looking for a crust

    clue in

    the russians suffered a devastating loss precipitated by a bogus call against the usa [ the ever present variance in rules evident in contrast to that call showing up again last night in favour of blue jackets ]

    after getting a grasp of the bigger picture, tell us how the hockey world was deprived of some special intelligence from a player interview

    run by a cbc nbc or tsn media robot shoving a camera in someone’s face as he tried to get the hell out of an arena full of disappointed compatriots

  12. hockeyflow33 - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Does anyone except for the scavengers in the media care about players saying the same things after games? No.

    Anytime a player does say something interesting the media lambasts the guy for causing a problem.

    I’m no Phaneuf fan but good for him for defending himself.

  13. imgoingtowichita - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    ouch …
    Nope, it doesn’t and I could care less what friedman or other journalists say or think, more interested in Datsyuk (and other leaders of the team) manning up for a loss because as captain has to take some of the blame.
    I understand that he struggles with the English language and I don’t fault him one bit. I couldn’t say ‘Hi’ in Russian. However, do you think he would have managed a few phrases for NBC or CBC had he been wearing a gold medal on the final day? I think he probably would have accommodated the press.
    What does the loss to the U.S. have to do with losing to Finland and being eliminated?
    Again, not looking for anything earth shattering, nor expecting it from any player interview. I was referencing the balls that Ovi has to answer the question that he knew was coming. That simple.

    • habsmansboyfriend - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      I don’t fault Datsyuk one bit either. What he should do is listen carefully to the questions posed to him in English, then answer in Russian. Soon enough the vultures will disappear….Ha!

  14. graymalkin26 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Clarkson must be happy this guys around to take the heat off him. What a joke, 4 goals and a healthy minus is all this monkey took to the Leafs. Heartless player, how did this clown ever score 30, that will never happen again…joke of the year.

  15. muckleflugga - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:26 AM


    no no nooo … please don’t take offence … none intended trust me

    i agree … if the rooskies had won gold they have collectively reprised ned braden’s striptease from the movie slap shot for all the world to see and all would have been good … interviews would have been in abundance

    [ chanceoffleurry and patthehockeyfan avert your eyes to avoid over-stimulation at the image … think ken hitchcock emerging from the shower if you need cooling down ]

    no … my gripe is the incessant inflation of off-hand remarks and sarcasm from players in the heat of the moment … taken literally … then used as fodder for breathless ground-breaking speculation by reporters light-headed from their own cologne and perfume

    water bottle-gate in edmonton is the most recent example … if there’s no news let’s manufacture some news … if dallas eakins is depressed and stays in for a day … big deal …

    he finds himself in company with twenty million canadians suffering cabin fever through a hideous lingering winter [ but there’s no climate change ]

    most of this breathless on-the-scene reportage is pulp … filler filling otherwise dead air … it’s a disgrace and blackens otherwise decent sports journalism seen and heard on cbc and nbc and tsn panels

    take the reporters out of the locker rooms once and for all … you want information, set-up a room for proper interviews …

    then get your panties in a knot if the sports figure behaves the ass

  16. rrsm53 - Mar 27, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    Oh the poor captain cant take any heat then get out of the kitchen, toronto made a big mistake giving him such a large extension they get what they deserve. Coach is a troll, their team is pathetic and Captain Phaneuf is the biggest whiner and cheap shot artist, why he is the capt i will never understand that.

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