Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 30: Fans react during Game Four of the Eastern Conference first round series between the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Besides what Andrew Raycroft describes as an “old barn in Ontario on a Friday night,” the former Bruins goaltender has never had to deal with fans throwing objects at him. But he feels he had more protection from unruly fans as a hockey player than NBA players do.

So after a fan at TD Garden got himself arrested and charged with assault & battery after he threw a water bottle at the Nets’ Kyrie Irving, Raycroft was asked about his experience with fans over his 11 seasons in the NHL, five of which were spent with the Bruins.

“Other than insults and ‘You suck, Raycroft,’ which I got more than enough of in my time as a player, never had a water bottle thrown at me,” Raycroft told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Joe Murray and Ted Johnson, filling in for Toucher and Rich. “I guess I’ve never been good enough to really create that energy, that hate, in any fans like Kyrie.”

But Raycroft made an interesting point regarding the fan incident with Irving on Sunday night at the Garden. It’s much easier for a fan to get in proximity to players in the NBA than it is in any other pro sports league.

“I think it’s an NBA problem,” Raycroft said. “It’s a bit in sports, but the NBA, they’re so close, people are right on top of each other, they’ve been cooped up for 15 months, and it seems as though they’re gonna have to find a way to protect guys a little bit more.

“In the NHL we have the glass, we have the boards. Even the tunnels are not as accessible, because of that, as they are in the NBA.”

Listen below for the full interview.

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