Is Claude Noel Ready for the Big Leagues?

| February 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

Claude Noel

The Jets surprised a lot of people when they named Claude Noel as their new coach. There were a lot of suitable candidates available and even the Thrashers came with the respected Craig Ramsay who a lot of people thought might a get a chance with new management.

True North decided to go with Noel who had been coaching the Manitoba Moose and really who could blame them. Former Moose coaches had done really well in the NHL so Mark Chipman who likes to reward loyalty was betting that Noel would follow the same path. Noel even had a little NHL experience from when he served as interm coach of the Blue Jackets.

Sadly I don’t think things are working out as planned. Now before everyone goes off saying I am calling for Noel to be fired, I’m not. I think the guy should be given time to build his team and mold them the way he wants. Firing Noel would do nothing to help this team at this juncture.

Yet thats not saying that Noel shouldn’t be held accountable for some of the Jets struggles. I have never seen him in practice but during games and in press conferences Noel rarely shows emotion. LIke my chili I like my coaches to be fiery. I like them to be engaged in the game and show a little emotion.

Early in the season during a press conference Noel didn’t want to talk about his teams problems rather he spent a majority of his time complaining about his cable provider. I expect that kind of talk from my co-worker over coffee not an NHL coach who’s team is under performing.

The media loves Noel because he likes to fight his battles through them. If a player is struggling you know Noel is going to make an example of him by voicing his displeasure through the press. He’s called out Big Buff, Fehr, Wheeler and Evander Kane. With Kane Noel realized he went too far and had to clarify his comments the next day and said that he would no longer use the media to call out players.

Now if a player is struggling or has a problem I think the coach should be holding him accountable but you just don’t do it through the media. You take the guy aside and talk to him one on one. There is no good that will come out of embarrassing the guy in the press. All you are doing is risking loosing trust with the guys you have to coach. No coach can succeed with out the trust of his players. They don’t need to like him they just need to trust him and with a coach who is constantly throwing his players under the bus trust is going to be hard to gain.

After Saturday’s loss to the Pens Noel called out the whole team and suggested that Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec had a case to be mad at his team mates. Was he right? yes. Was that the right way to get the message across? No. All Noel did was create a division in the dressing room. He’s given his goalie reason not to trust his teammates.

Noel is a first year coach trying to win with a team that he didn’t have a say in putting together. This is a group that is used to losing who had been run as bad as any team in the NHL. No one was expecting him to lead these guys to the Stanley cup. Yet it seems early on he’s struggling as much as the players on the ice.

The offensive system he’s installed isn’t working. The Jets need to find a system that works with the players they have. Noel as a coach needs to figure out how to generate more goals. He’s got the talent, the question needs to be asked is he using them properly? This dump and chase style his is preaching is pretty easy to defend agaonst and just isn’t generating the chances the team needs.

And while Noel attacked his guys for leaving his goalie and probably best player out to dry he needs to bear some of the blame himself. Under no circumstances should a goalie be left in for 8 goals. I don’t care if all the goals were the D’s fault no goalie should have to go through that. Noel should have pulled him and if the excuse was that he thought the team still had a chance then that’s not a vote of confidence for Chris Mason. Either way it was a bad mistake by Noel.

Listen Claude Noel is a rookie coach and he’s going to make some mistakes. Personally I like the guy and his sense of humor. I am just not sold on him as an NHL coach right now. I think this team would have been better served with a veteren coach to lead them and then groom Noel into the job. As much as we want to blame the players some needs to be shared with the guy telling them what to do.

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Category: Jets News

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