Don Cherry doesn't want to pile on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the popular television personality called fans who throw jerseys onto the ice "jerks" and "creeps."
Cherry, who coached at the junior, minor-league and NHL levels, said he feels sorry for interim Leafs coach Peter Horachek and assistant Steve Spott as they go through this ordeal. The Leafs have lost six in a row and 14 of their past 17 games.
"Even on Coach's Corner, I never really kick guys when they're down and, boy, they're down now," Cherry said at the Canadian Hockey League top prospects game, where he's coaching against friend Bobby Orr. "There's no way I'm kicking them when they're down because they're actually in a nightmare right now."
Toronto's losing run cost Randy Carlyle his job, and the coaching change hasn't turned the team's fortunes around. Cherry said he knows what that's like from one season behind the bench of the Colorado Rockies.
"You go to bed thinking of it and the family suffers," Cherry said. "You get up and it's a nightmare. At the time I was the highest paid coach at the time and I'd give it all up to win."
Cherry didn't want to rip the Leafs, but he had no problems sharing his thoughts on fans who have thrown their jerseys onto the ice at Air Canada Centre.
"You've got four or five guys, they come in with the sweaters to throw on the ice, they're hoping they lose," Cherry said. "They're jerks. I cannot believe that people sit beside them and watch them throw. ... They're creeps, that's as far as I'm concerned, that would do that."