Maple Leafs' Kessel: Media's treatment of Phaneuf is 'embarrassing'
"It's not his fault," Kessel said Tuesday. "Why he does he get the blame?"
Phaneuf and Kessel were not dealt by the club prior to Monday's trade deadline.
"I think the way the media treats Dion Phaneuf in this city is embarrassing," Kessel added.
Phaneuf chose not to address the media on Tuesday.
"Is it his fault we're losing? No. Did he build this team? No," Kessel continued. "The stuff he takes, the crap he takes, the things people say, I'm just tired of it here."
The full Kessel media scrum can be seen here:
Meanwhile, assistant general manager Kyle Dubas told TSN 1050 that the players are upset about the tweet that was shown on TSN's trade deadline broadcast Monday, which made an accusation about Phaneuf's wife and teammate Joffrey Lupul.
The Leafs are mired in a disappointing season in which they have stumbled to the fourth-worst record in the league.
Toronto was shut out 4-0 in back-to-back games over the weekend and went 3-7-1 in February. They have lost seven of their last nine contests.