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Phaneuf wants to fit in with Senators

Former Maple Leafs captain won't speak ill of old team

by Paul Harris / Correspondent

NHL Tonight: Phaneuf Traded

NHL Tonight: Phaneuf Trade Analysis

NHL Tonight breaks down the big news of the day: Ottawa has acquired bruising defenseman Dion Phaneuf

  • 09:59 •

DETROIT -- Defenseman Dion Phaneuf said Wednesday that he is pleased to be a member of the Ottawa Senators and has no hard feelings about his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Phaneuf, who was traded to the Senators by the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, skated with his new teammates for the first time Wednesday morning at Joe Louis Arena and will make his Senators debut Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, FS-D, NHL.TV). 

"I'm proud to be a member of the Ottawa Senators and looking forward to starting tonight," Phaneuf said. "... I've got nothing bad to say [about playing in Toronto]. … A lot of great hockey people who are part of their management. Nothing bad to say about them at all." 

Phaneuf, who played with the Maple Leafs for seven seasons and was their captain, was traded along with forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert, and defenseman Cody Donaghey, for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and Tobias Lindberg, and a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. 

Senators coach Dave Cameron said Phaneuf will play on the second defense pair with Cody Ceci and see ice time in all situations. 

"We've got ourselves a good NHL defenseman," Cameron said. "So we should be excited about that." 

Phaneuf, in his 11th NHL season, has three goals, 24 points and a minus-4 rating in 51 games this season. 

"He plays hard. Lots of hard minutes," Senators right wing Chris Neil said. "So I'm glad that he's on our team." 

Neil said he and Phaneuf had breakfast together Wednesday morning. 

Phaneuf had a limited no-trade clause in his contract but said he didn't have to waive it to join the Senators. 

"I'm excited to be part of this group," he said. " … I'm going to play when asked to and I'll do my job." 

Neil said that Phaneuf's presence will benefit Ottawa's young players. 

"Bringing in a veteran guy like Dion, who can step in and help the younger guys, he can step in and settle the game down," Neil said. 

And make the Senators a more difficult opponent. 

"They've added a guy who's been a real good player in this League for a long time," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "From the outside looking in it makes them a better hockey team. But we knew it was going to be a challenge [Wednesday] no matter what." 

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