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NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano blasted the officiating crew following his team's 3-2 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
"There's two teams battling there. [The Devils] won the game in overtime [Friday] night and they got all the calls tonight, let's face it,'' Capuano told Newsday. "It was a one-sided game. I don't comment too much on the officiating, but you've got to let the players decide the game, especially with a game of this magnitude.''
According to Newsday, Capuano was mainly upset with referees Stephane Auger and Chris Lee and linesemen Shane Heyer and Tim Nowak over a 10-minute misconduct penalty assessed to Frans Nielsen at 11:33 of the third period. Nielsen's misconduct penalty, the first misconduct penalty he's ever received in his career, coincided with Travis Hamonic being sent to the box for hooking Nick Palmieri.
The Devils did not score on the ensuing power play, but later ended the game when defenseman Anssi Salmela scored his first goal of the season at 3:09 of overtime.
"We got no respect tonight," Capuano, whose team got just one power play to the Devils' five, told the newspaper. "Maybe if we start winning games, we'll get it. Maybe it's a young coaching staff and they've got an older coaching staff. Maybe it's their players -- their veteran guys versus our non-veteran guys. I have no idea. But it's tough for guys to prepare for a game and then it's taken away from you."
Capuano told the newspaper that he was given no explanation on the Nielsen penalty and had trouble getting the attention of the officiating crew the entire game.
"Tonight was a little bit overboard for me," he told the newspaper. "I don't think we're that undisciplined and they're that disciplined. We had 11 seconds of power-play time and we have a guy that has 28 penalty minutes [this season], our assistant captain, get thrown into the box for 10 minutes. To me, that's a lack of respect."
Nielsen told the newspaper that Devils' players were calling Capuano derogatory names. He specifically called out right winger David Clarkson by name, according to Newsday.
"I tried to talk to [Auger] because they had some guys who were saying things to Cappy," Nielsen told the newspaper. "I've never seen that before, a guy talking to the other team's coach. So I went over to [Auger] to just let him know that this wasn't right, and he kind of lost it on me, told me to get lost.
"Then, when Hammy [Travis Hamonic] got the penalty, 2-2 game and they already had power plays in the third, I just lost it a little bit. Maybe I shouldn't do that, but it wasn't right."Clarkson said he did yell at the Islanders bench after scoring in the third period, but he was just responding to someone yelling at him. "I didn't know who was yelling," Clarkson said, according to the Bergen Record. "Someone was yelling at me. I said something back. It was just from the bench." He said he wasn't directing his words to Capuano. "It was nothing serious," he said, according to the newspaper. "It was more the time of the game, the importance of the game, things were going on. Guys were asking me to fight." Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.