This is not hockey news (Also, Phaneuf’s powerplay production)

Welcome to the front pages of the sports sections of the Toronto Star (above) and the Globe and Mail (below). Other newspapers and websites had more discretion, at least confining the news to the entertainment and arts pages.

I do want to address this specific point, mind you:

This is from the Score’s random trivia and miscellaneous account, and it’s usually a pretty good source of information. It’s not fair to characterize Phaneuf this way, since both he, and hockey, have matured so much since Phaneuf’s rookie year. Remember all the penalties that were called directly out of the lockout and in conjunction with Phaneuf’s first season in the league.

Here’s a chart that shows Phaneuf’s powerplay time, powerplay points, and powerplay points pro-rated per 400 minutes on the point:

  PP TOI PP Points PPP/400:00
2006 436:09:00 33 30.3
2007 440:56:00 31 28.1
2008 413:53:00 33 31.9
2009 445:52:00 21 18.8
2010 325:20:00 5 6.1
2011 259:04:00 12 18.5
2012 291:41:00 22 30.2

After a brief lull around the time that Phaneuf was growing as a player and subsequently traded to the Leafs, Phaneuf is back to his rookie production on the PP, although he is now passing more than shooting. Can you believe he had 16 goals in his rookie season?

My own individual narrative is that, after he started dating Cuthbert in 2008 (Sean Avery’s “sloppy seconds” comment came in December of that year), Phaneuf has since settled down, matured, accepting tougher minutes:

  TOI/60 Rel QoC Ozone%
2008 17.64 0.157 56.8
2009 17.44 0.159 58.2
2010 17.47 0.817 54.8
2011 18.62 0.724 49.4
2012 18.55 1.399 50.0

Unfortunately, this only goes back to 2008.

From personal observation of Phaneuf in the pre-Behind The Net days, he was an absolute nightmare on his half of the ice. He’d make big hits that made highlight reels, but when he’d miss, he was completely out of position and cost the Flames a lot of goals against.

I’m not so sure I’d call him a different player all those years later. He still has those tools, but he’s more careful with them, more discrete. His team has the puck more. He doesn’t have to hit so much. He’s worked on his gap control, his pinches, support for his defensive partner. All the little things necessary to make his team better at gaining the offensive blue line.

This was my excuse to write about Dion Phaneuf some more, who I see as the only sure thing on the Leafs’ blue line going into next season. Congratulations to Phaneuf, who still looks like a man on the hunt for the perfect cheese stick, and to Kimberly Bauer I guess, but still, this is not hockey news, Globe: