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Audio: Phaneuf explains decision to skip salute, says Leafs were ‘just changing up routine’

Dion Phaneuf

Here’s the link to the audio, courtesy reporter David Alter.

In case you missed it, the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t salute their fans after last night’s big win over Tampa Bay, and that’s become a pretty big thing now.

Here’s how captain Dion Phaneuf explained things after this morning’s practice:

“That was something that we obviously discussed about. And to be completely honest with you, it was something about the way we’ve been playing at home, our record, and just changing up routine. At the end of the day, we did a lot of things different throughout the day, and that was something that we decided to change.”

Did he expect the backlash?

“We have great respect for our fans. We’ve got unbelievable fans. We know how much support that we have. This by no means was any attack at our fans, or anything personal. It was more about our team and changing up our routine.”

But why change that part of the routine?

“For us, and our group, it was something that we decided. I’m not going to discuss what we talk about inside of our room. I think that’s something that stays in our room, but I will say one thing -- we know how great a support that we have, we know how great our fans are, and this was nothing against them whatsoever.”

Phaneuf was pressed by reporters on the explanation, and it certainly got a little awkward. But Phaneuf stuck to his guns, called it a “collective decision,” and said the salute won’t be done anymore.

“That’s something we’re sticking with.”