Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri hates losing just as much as Toronto's disgruntled fans but says there's no excuse for throwing jerseys on the ice.
"Other people are trying to enjoy the game as well . . . you've got to pay some sort of consequences especially when you're interrupting a game," he said Tuesday, a day after the Leafs were humiliated in a 4-1 home loss to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes.
Three spectators who tossed their sweaters in disgust Monday night are paying the consequences. Police said Tuesday they had been charged under the province's Trespass to Property Act and are facing fines as well as one-year bans from the Air Canada Centre for their actions.
"I guess that's a bit of a consolation," Kadri said following Toronto's practice. "You shouldn't be able to walk away scott-free from interrupting a venue."
Jerseys have been tossed on the ice on occasion throughout the season. But fans' frustration is mounting as Toronto has lost five straight and 13 of its last 16. One of the jersey-throwing incidents Monday night came during play, which was especially insulting to the players.
"It's frustrating, as players we're not happy about it either we hate to lose just as much as the fans," Kadri said. "One time throughout a season I think is probably enough but when it happens multiple times it gets a little disrespectful but there's not really much we can do about it now."
Fans showed frustration in a variety of ways
Other fans took a more conventional — and legal — approach to showing their displeasure, wearing a paper bag over their heads. Toronto is a dismal 1-6 since firing head coach Randy Carlyle and promoting assistant Peter Horachek for the remainder of the season and has scored just twice over its last five losses.
"There's the select few people who do that, I don't think it speaks for all of our fans," said defenceman Cody Franson. "This is a process we want to get through with our fans, we don't want an us against them mentality by any stretch.
"It's unfortunate that stuff happens but at the end of the day we're focused on what we're doing in here and trying to get back into the win column."
Coach has simple advice
Horachek is offering his players simple advice regarding the latest jersey incident.
"I tell them all the time, 'Control what you can control, don't let other things distract or bother you,"' he said. "They may see it and say 'That's unfortunate,' or something but I'm not going to let it seep into the room.
"If I hear it I'm going to say, 'Listen, that's not something to worry about.' Our fans are very supportive, they're very good. There's a few people who do that and that's just the way it is."
Spectators are warned about interrupting play or entering the field or playing surface while at pro sports venues. Fans will often throw hats on the ice when a player scores a hat trick but the tossing of jerseys — which can cost as much as $300 depending on the quality — or other items is verboten.
"In the events that occurred last night, the investigators believed that the people should be given the fine and that's what occurred," said police spokesman David Hopkinson. "But in the future, this can easily result in a criminal charge."