Dion Phaneuf (Jonathan Kozub / NHLI via Getty Images)
The Maple Leafs may have lost 4-0 to the Sabres Tuesday evening, but Dion Phaneuf showed that the physical side of his game is in mid-season form. Midway through the game, Phaneuf lined up Buffalo defenseman Brendan Guhle and dropped him with a thunderous open ice hit.
There weren’t many positive things for the Toronto Maple Leafs to takeaway from Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, but if nothing else, at least Dion Phaneuf seems to be in mid-season form when it comes to doling out punishment.
Midway through the second period of Tuesday’s tilt between the Leafs and Sabres, Buffalo defenseman Brendan Guhle, an 18-year-old coming off of his second season in the WHL, got his ‘Welcome to the NHL’ moment when he was lined up and bowled over by Phaneuf.
The hit — which was clean, hard and looked immensely painful — was textbook. You can almost feel the hit on the second slow-motion replay:
Guhle felt that, to be sure. The Sabres’ second-round pick, 51st overall, at the 2015 draft, Guhle already has good size, but even at 6-foot-1, 184 pounds, he gives up an inch and 30 pounds to Phaneuf. That combination of size difference added up to a thundering check.
The audible reaction inside the First Niagara Center told the story of the hit. If you watch closely, both benches immediately stand up to see the aftermath of Phaneuf’s hit, too. Of course, the hit was not without repercussions for Phaneuf, who was roughed up enough by Nicolas Deslauriers folllowing the hit to draw a roughing call.