WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets' 12-11-2 record belies coach Claude Noel's mood these days.
The Jets collected five of a possible eight points during their just-concluded four-game road trip, but Noel arrived home less than pleased with his team's recent play. Winnipeg enters games Tuesday ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers, and the Jets have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs five consecutive years. Talk of a desire to build accountability and establish a winning culture have surrounded the club nearly since its arrival in Winnipeg in May 2011.
"If you win by accident, that's going to run out," Noel said. "You're going to run into problems. That's where the fear comes in for me. We'll take [the wins], but let's be real -- the one thing that I like to do is to be honest with our team, make sure that we look in the mirror at how we play. For me, it's all in how you play and if you do the right things."
Noel has clashed with third-year center Alexander Burmistrov, a 21-year-old selected with the eighth pick of the 2010 NHL Draft when the franchise was located in Atlanta. Noel termed Burmistrov's play as "OK." Burmistrov has three goals, four assists and a plus-6 rating in 25 games this season.
Noel played Burmistrov a season-low 9:22 Sunday in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils. Burmistrov saw one second-period shift and did not play at all during the third period or overtime. Noel termed Burmistrov a "game-time decision" Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Burmistrov remained on the ice after the morning skate had concluded and was not available to speak with the Winnipeg media.