Make no mistake - Dion Phaneuf is excited to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.
The Leafs' newest saviour faced a much larger than usual media scrum Monday and gave practically the same answer to every question - "I'm excited to be here."
Phaneuf spent most of the practice with Francois Beauchemin as his defence partner and sporting his number 3 on his helmet. Apparently, Phaneuf's first order of business after arriving from the Calgary Flames was to cut a deal with fellow defenceman Garnet Exelby to surrender the number. Exelby, who is hoping to be traded, switched to number 7.
All three players the Leafs received in Sunday's trades were on the ice Monday, preparing for Tuesday's game at the Air Canada Centre against the New Jersey Devils.
Head coach Ron Wilson said J.S. Giguere will start in goal on Tuesday and assume the No. 1 goaltender's job from rookie Jonas Gustavsson. "We'll put [Gustavsson]in here and there as the schedule goes," Wilson said of his plans for the rest of the NHL season.
The third newcomer, checking forward Fredrik Sjostrom who came from the Flames with Phaneuf, was installed on a line with centre Rickard Wallin and left winger Nikolai Kulemin.
On the injury front, both the Maple Leafs and the U.S. Olympic team are awaiting the results of a test that will be conducted Wednesday on defenceman Mike Komisarek's shoulder. He has been out since Jan. 2 and was hoping to postpone surgery and come back and play after extensive rehabilitation. But if the test shows surgery is the best option, that means a long absence and the end of Komisarek's plans to play in the Olympics.
Wilson said centre Mikhail Grabovski had the cast removed from his broken wrist Monday. He is expected to be at least two weeks away from a return.
Following are the line combinations and defence pairs for the new-look Leafs after the departures of Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jason Blake, Jamal Mayers, Ian White and Vesa Toskala in the trades with the Flames and Anaheim Ducks.
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel
Jeff Finger-John Mitchell-Lee Stempniak
Nikolai Kulemin-Rickard Wallin-Fredrik Sjostrom
Jay Rosehill-Wayne Primeau-Colton Orr
Dion Phaneuf-Francois Beauchemin
Tomas Kaberle-Carl Gunnarsson
Garnet Exelby-Luke Schenn
Defenceman Jeff Finger played left wing in Monday's practice but he was just holding a spot for Christian Hanson, who is expected to be promoted from the Toronto Marlies farm team in time for Tuesday's game. Hanson was given the day off because the Marlies just finished playing three games in three nights.