Make no mistake about it: it’s been open season on Dion Phaneuf around the league this year, as several players have openly disrespected the Leafs captain on the ice with little or no repercussions afterward.
The Canucks’ Jannik Hansen took his turn calling out Phaneuf on Saturday by mocking him with a turtling gesture in between whistles.
Hansen got into a shoving match with Phaneuf in front of the Toronto net during his team’s 4-1 drubbing of the Leafs in Vancouver. The whistle blew and one of Phaneuf’s teammates came in to back him up, at which point Hansen mockingly raised his hands to protect his bowed head and skated away.
The gesture was a reference to an earlier scuffle between Phaneuf and Vancouver’s Zack Kassian. That fight started with Kassian taking a swing at Phaneuf in front of the net.
Here’s the Kassian scrum, followed by the Hansen turtle. You can hear broadcasters Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson pointing out that Phaneuf has an injured hand during the Kassian tussle.
You can also see Phaneuf turtling to protect that hand.
Kassian and Hansen are the latest players to show their open disdain for the Leafs captain.
Incidents like these only encourage more players to do the same to Phaneuf down the road.