Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf Delivers A Bone-Crushing Check On Canes’ Tuomo Ruutu (Video)
Tim Gleason’s sucker punch on Nikolai Kulemin may have put the exclamation mark on what was a very physical affair between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes last night, but that fight certainly wasn’t the beginning of the rough stuff. For that we take you to the start of the first period when the Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf leveled the Canes’ Tuomo Ruutu with a devastating open-ice hit only 25 seconds into the game.
After taking a check from Ruutu along the end boards moments earlier, Phaneuf exacted some revenge by lining him up at center ice and driving his shoulder into the logo on the chest of the Hurricanes’ forward. It was a clean hit that didn’t leave any players injured, but it did leave a lasting impression on the game as it kicked off what would turn into quite the chippy affair between these two teams.
Phaneuf has been know to deliver highlight reel checks like this throughout his career, but since arriving in Toronto via a trade with the Calgary Flames, many critics have voiced their displeasure with Phaneuf’s game. Many believe that as the newly appointed captain of the Leafs, perhaps the young defenseman has been trying to do a little too much on the ice, rather than just sticking to his strengths. He showcased one of those strengths last night on his opening shift of the game, and while it may not have been enough to earn his team the win, it did put the Canes, and the rest of the NHL, on notice: If you are going to skate across the middle of the ice with your head down against the Leafs, you better make sure No. 3 in blue isn’t out there.