Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Noel reckons troops are tired

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MONTREAL -- It can't be a fun thing to do for Claude Noel -- step in front of lights and cameras after a loss and conduct a public autopsy.

Especially when the game is as gruesome as Sunday's 3-0 stinker to the Montreal Canadiens.

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But it was a reserved, contemplative Noel who faced the media Sunday -- not the fiery coach who lashed out after Friday's loss to Florida -- and the reason was clear:

The boss thinks his troops are pooped.

"I think what's happening with our team when I look at it is, it's a four-game road trip, but in essence for us it's a little bit longer for us and I think that's what's showing up," said Noel. "When I look at the energy level it looks like we've been on the road for two weeks and the guys have not been home. For us the biggest thing is going to be finding some energy for Tuesday (vs. Toronto).

"We're going to have to manage our rest, that's going to be the big thing. I'll talk to the staff and get a feel for what we'll do (today). Sometimes you've seen enough and been around each other enough on the road that you just need to get away. Having said that, we were away for the five-day break but we looked tired. We'll see. We need to get some energy."

MAN ADVANTAGE? Here's Noel on the Jets power play, 0-for-3 Sunday and giving up a short-handed goal:

"Our power play was not good at all. To me, our power play was a reflection of our game and we weren't good at all and generated very little. Our decision-making process was not great. Our go-to guys didn't have a great night in a lot of areas, not only on the power play but in a lot of areas. A guy like Spencer Machacek comes into the game and it looks like he's got a lot of energy and plays well and maybe it's because he's rested.

"There were a lot of things I considered doing, not just on the power play but on the five-on-five, the lines and everything else, but there was really nobody playing great, nobody really doing anything where you could turn around and say, 'They're going, they're going.' It wasn't happening and that was the frustrating part. It was frustrating watching us for two periods."

QUOTABLE: "That's not the reason we lost the game. We lost the game because we got outplayed." -- Jets' captain Andrew Ladd when it was suggested a disallowed goal by Alex Burmistrov in the first period -- it was waved off on a delayed penalty when a Winnipeg player jumped on the ice too soon -- could have been a difference.

FYI: Several Jet players talked leading up to the game about how much they enjoy playing in Montreal at the Bell Centre, it being the Mecca of hockey and all. Interestingly, however, Winnipeg is one of only four NHL teams -- Detroit, Ottawa and Phoenix being the others -- who do not have a single Quebec-born player on its roster or injured list. For what it's worth, the Tampa Lightning have the most Quebec-born players with five.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 6, 2012 C2

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