Toronto Maple Leafs: Dion Phaneuf suspended 2 games

For the second time in as many days the National Hockey League’s chief of justice, Brendan Shanahan, has suspended one of the players he oversees. Today, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is the penalized perpetrator of an illegal hit deemed worthy of a 2-game suspension. The timing could not be worse for the struggling Leafs who look forward to a couple contests against two of the league’s top teams, the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.

Phaneuf is suspended for a hit-from-behind he landed against Boston Bruins rookie Kevan Miller in last Sunday’s game between the Leafs and B’s.

The referees did not give the Leafs’ captain a penalty on the play.

Life without Dion may become permanent next season if the bruising defender isn’t signed to a new contract before July 1, 2014, at which point he will have the option to sign wherever he pleases. No Phaneuf is bad news for a Toronto team that is already thin on the back-end, however, if one positive can be taken from the loss of the captain it is that Leafs general manager Dave Nonis can witness a small sample size under the worst circumstances before deciding to re-sign Phaneuf at the high dollar value and lengthy term it is speculated he will demand.