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Away from rink, a different Dion

There are two captains of the Maple Leafs.

There are two captains of the Maple Leafs.

There’s the stone-faced Dion Phaneuf, the man of few words who measures each one before he utters it, and who looks for all the world as if he would rather be anywhere than in front of a microphone.

And there’s the hell-on-wheels Dion Phaneuf, the life of the party who goes to Halloween get-togethers dressed like an ’80s rocker, all big hair and tight spandex pants.

“There’s work mode and there’s fun mode,” Phaneuf says during a quiet moment at Leafs training camp.

“And there’s definitely a big difference in those.”

Phaneuf is relaxed, sitting at his locker dressed in street clothes.

On the heels of an impromptu team table tennis tournament at the MasterCard Centre practice facility, he explains his dual personality.

“I definitely think before I answer a question,” Phaneuf says.

“You have to think about what you’re going to say. The biggest thing is when people get the wrong assessment of me. They say, ‘He doesn’t smile’ and this and that.

“I’m not the same person here as I am away from the rink. This is my job. When you’re away from it, you have your fun.

“When we’re here, it’s business.”

Does it bother him that people get the wrong impression?

“No, not at all,” he says. “Because when they meet you, they’re surprised.”

Especially if they were at the Calgary Flames’ Halloween party last season.

Phaneuf wanted to keep the details about his costume under wraps — it’s his favourite get-up — but his friend, Flames forward Craig Conroy, gave it up.

“He dressed up as an ’80s rocker and he’s got a pretty big butt. So he really accented that butt. I mean, it was huge,” Conroy says.

“I couldn’t tell if it was his butt or if it was fake. He was in a spandex outfit. It was pretty funny. He had that wig going and a tight, tight shirt. He likes to have fun.”

 
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