Phil Kessel says it’s classless when Toronto Maple Leafs fans throw jerseys onto the ice in protest of the team’s play.
The Leafs were embarrassed 9-2 by the Nashville Predators Tuesday and yet another jersey was tossed onto the ice, as has become tradition at the Air Canada Centre this season.
“It’s disrespectful, right?” the star winger told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “Not just to us but to the organization, to all of the Leafs players that have ever played for Toronto. If you want to boo us [that’s alright], but you’re disrespecting all of the great players and the great teams that they’ve had before us [by tossing jerseys] here. That’s the way I look at it.
“I think that’s pretty classless to throw your jersey on the ice like that.”
The Leafs have been outscored 15-4 over the last two games. Kessel called his team’s effort Tuesday “embarrassing” but also deflected criticism from head coach Randy Carlyle.
“It’s not Randy’s fault. I mean, we’re on the ice,” Kessel said. “I don’t think people should be blaming him. We’re out there making mistakes and not playing well the last two games…It can’t get worse than that, can it?”
The 27-year-old, who has 11 goals, 11 assists in 19 games this season, added that while the last two losses have been brutal, the season is far from over.
“It’s not like we’re a last-place team in this league right now…I think every team gets beat bad a couple times a year.”