Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"We Don't Come in here to Lose"

"We don't come in here to lose. We don't like it. We don't accept it." John Tavares told the reporters after the game. It was obvious the morale in the room was low.

"On the power play, we had some chances, they blocked a lot of shots." He kept he head down to shield his eyes from the camera lights.

"What is the mood in the room? Is it anger, frustration, what?" That was the question one reporter kept asking. But the answer was obvious if you just looked at their faces.

"We're trying to get better and find a way to win. For sure it's not easy all the time and you don't enjoy this feeling." No one enjoys the feeling. Not the men who poured their sweat on the ice or those who pour their passion into watching it.

Matt Moulson "To battle like that and not come out on top, it's tough. Definitely think the effort was there, I don't think anyone in here didn't want it tonight or didn't work hard. We have to find a way to win."

A major reason the Isles couldn't find a way to win was finding a way to beat Henrik Lundqvist. "He's a great goaltender, obviously. You get guys around him and get guys to the net and try to make life hard on him. At points in the game we did a good job of that and at others, not so much."

When Matt was asked about the mood, his tone didn't change.

"Obviously, it's angry. Guys want to win. We have to win. We should be a winning team in this league. We have to find ways to get it done. We have to figure it out as a group."

Jack Capuano, while unhappy with the outcome, was happier with the effort of his team.

"It's frustrating. We played some decent hockey. Tonight we played one of our better games of the year and we came up short."

The Isles trailed on the score sheet for all but about a minute. Even the physical efforts of Mike Mottau (who earned his 7th fighting major of his NHL career) and Matt Martin couldn't turn the game around.

"I tried to get the guys into the game a little. We tried to apply a little more pressure....I was happy with the effort, but really I thought we deserved the points, even one point at that."

When I heard Matt Moulson even the score at two, I thought for sure the game would go to overtime and the Isles would get a point out of it. I guess, so did Jack. But the Rangers Brad Richards came back to score a third and Jack pulled Nabokov in the final minutes for the extra attacker and while the effort and the excitement was high, the expected outcome never materialized.

Nino Niederreiter playing his fourth game in five nights got a good taste of the Ranger rivalry. Jack was asked about his youngest player.

"When he was out there, he made some good plays with the puck. He showed me he has some poise with the puck. He's going to be a good player in this league."

Yes. He will. El Nino played a little over 11 minutes and had one shot on net.

But he didn't score the goal he wanted and only Frans and Moulson found the back of the net. "If anybody that watched us play tonight they would think the guys played extremely hard. We're not a team that scores a lot of goals. We got one on the Power Play and one 5 on 5. We have to find secondary scoring. We have to find a way to score some goals."

The Isles remain the lowest scoring team in the league. Secondary scoring has been the topic of many conversation over the last few weeks and Jack has attempted to find chemistry by doing minimal shuffling, but to no avail.

The Ranger winning goal was caused by an "egregious" turn over by Josh Bailey. When Jack was asked about it, he didn't throw Josh under a bus. Instead, he explained it from the player's point of view in a high pressure situation.

"When you get the puck you want to make the right play with the puck and it was an unfortunate bounce for us."

When asked if Jack would continue to rearrange lines and sit players, he responded "We always sit down and rate our guys. We have to put the best guys out. We have to try to find a way to get the right mix in there."

There was no mention of call-ups from Bridgeport. I had been begging for two days for one particular call up for last night's game: Michael Haley. Not to say that the outcome would have been much different, but we won't know, now do we.

This is an unusual stretch of losing. The Islanders are not playing horrible hockey. Usually when you go through stretches like this you're playing bad hockey.

"We were dangerous tonight. I like the way we competed." was Jack's consolation for the evening.

In the other locker room, John Tortorella met the media. "I thought we were good at periods of time, I thought we were brutal at periods of time. We found a way to win another hockey game."

He was disappointed his team couldn't find a way to score on the five on three but found it encouraging that they won in the coliseum where they have had trouble before. "To win and win consistently, that's the way we have to be."

That's the way to get into the playoffs. The playoffs that are already getting further in the distance for the New York Islanders.

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