Dion Phaneuf is a changed man since Ron Wilson coached against him.

When Wilson coached the San Jose Sharks and Phaneuf was patrolling the blue line for the Calgary Flames, Wilson said Phaneuf was not hard to play against.

"In San Jose, we thought as long as you had your head up, you could entice him to running around a bit, especially in the neutral zone," Wilson said. "He was always looking for a hit, and when defencemen are caught, they are not back to defend. He did not use his stick very well.

"We used to take advantage when Dion was on the ice. He got a lot of hits, but we scored a lot of goals when he was on the ice.

"Now, I think it is his positioning and patience with his physical play which has enabled him to do a better job defensively."

Phaneuf has come a long way, and concurred that his work with his stick has improved. While Wilson may have been exaggerating when he said earlier this season that Phaneuf was the best defenceman in the NHL, there's no doubt Phaneuf is a lot more defensively aware than he was when the Leafs acquired him in January 2010.