Trash talking...Been around for ages...Why not get into the head of an opponent when ya get the chance?
Lets be honest here...It's not like Phaneuf is some scrub player from the AHL, who got a call up due to injuries...I'm certain Alfie got alot more from the likes of Darcy Tucker.
I'm not suggesting it hasn't been that way since forever ... we all know that. I'm saying there is a code for a select group of elite players. This is especially true in the later part of their careers. You don't take cheap shots at them and you don't talk trash during casual moments on the ice (heat of the moment is another matter, of course).
Case in point - how often did guys take cheap shots or talk trash to Lids toward the end of his career?