LONG ISLAND, N.Y. -- Some nights it doesn’t take very much to prod Jets coach Claude Noel and Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders was a perfect case in point.
"I think it’s very disrespectful the way we start games. The way we started again tonight and the way got down I think is disrespectful to one another and what we want to accomplish as a team. The game is 60 minutes and whether you look at it as coming back I think it’s poor. It’s poor. The game is 60 minutes and I don’t like the way we play and the way we disrespect each other. It’s some individuals and it’s our team," said Noel, his face flush with anger.
"You can say all you want about coming back and winning in overtime and great. At the end of the day it represents who and what we are and I don’t like that representation."
The Jets fell behind 2-0 in the first period and came back to tie it at 2-2 before the frame was out. But they never led and trailed again at 3-2 and 4-3 before always coming back. Islanders forward Michael Grabner, who scored earlier on a penalty shot, put home the winner tipping a shot from St. Malo’s Travis Hamonic with 46 seconds left in the third period.
Noel plans to address the subject with his team prior to Saturday’s home finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Besides kill them?" answered Noel, when asked what he could do about his team’s slow start. "We’ll deal with it before the next game. I don’t know how you deal with it because these games [have] no value besides your own personal gratification and self whatever you want to call it. Self-analysis or whatever you want to call it. So you have to have intrinsic self-motivation and some type of self-valuation of what you are and what you need to be to be a good player. I think some guys are OK and some guys aren’t."
The coach was not interested in any excuses for his team finishing a four-game and eight-day road trip.
"Let’s not put excuses in here. We don’t need excuses. We’re good enough to win the game," he said.
"Those are just excuses. It’s mental preparation. I understand it’s not easy to get started at this time of year when you are out of it. I get that. But still you’re an athlete and this is your chosen profession. Can you not play the right way? That’s all I ask. Play the right way for the right reasons. That’s why you play and that should be enough. The game starts and you start on time. I understand the motivation part. But that’s poor and it’s a poor character trait if that’s what you got. I understand you don’t legs some nights. I understand those things. But not in the fashion we do things. That’s what bothers me."
The Isles jumped out fast with two goals less than two minutes apart in the first from Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo.
The Jets, however, got even before the first was out with Andrew Ladd scoring his 28th of the season and Toby Enstrom adding his sixth.
The Jets spent much of the second period short handed and finally paid the price as Okposo picked up his 23rd of the season.
Zach Bogosian tied the game at 3-3 before Grabner’s penalty shot made it 4-3. Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien got Winnipeg even again and overtime was on the horizon until Grabner struck.