He doesn't talk often, and when he does, it's rarely headline worthy material.
But Phil Kessel was ready to open his mind a crack on Wednesday, with the Toronto Maple Leafs coming off an embarrassing 9-2 loss to Nashville and the fan base in revolt.
Don't blame the coach was his first message.
Stop throwing Leafs jerseys on the ice.
"It's disrespectful, right?" Kessel said. "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 fine] – but you're disrespecting all of the great players and the great teams that they've had before us [by throwing 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."
Leafs practice was a bit of a circus on Wednesday. The media contingent was roughly double what it normally is, mainly due to several TV news stations making a rare appearance to pick through the wreckage of an especially brutal loss. (The Leafs hadn't allowed nine goals in a game since 1991.)
Not only was coach Randy Carlyle's scrum packed with a few rows of reporters and double the normal number of cameras, but GM Dave Nonis offered a rare encore act that was just as well attended.
Kessel likely had the most interesting things to say, however. The team's leading scorer insisted the sky was not falling and that Toronto had played well in some games, despite back-to-back lopsided losses to Nashville and Buffalo in their last two.
The Leafs even have a winning record, he noted – although at 9-8-2 they've technically lost more games than they've won.
"Obviously our last two games haven't been great, but it's not like we're a last-place team in this league right now," he said.
"We're not that team, obviously, that lost those two games like that. I know that for sure," he added. "I think every team gets beat bad a couple times a year."
As for Carlyle taking the heat, Kessel said that doesn't make a whole lot of sense either.
"It's not Randy's fault," said Kessel. "Obviously, we're on the ice. We're the ones that are playing the game. I don't think people should be blaming him. We're out there making mistakes and not playing well the last two games.
"We'll improve, right? It can't get worse than that, can it?"
The Leafs face Tampa, the second best team in the NHL, on Thursday.