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Michael Fenton The Hockey Writers

Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2015





Bluenotes: Player’s Send Message to Hitchcock

In a perfect world today’s hockey headlines would have read ‘The Blues Secure 4th Straight Playoff Berth’. That’s not the case in St. Louis as fans and the players are trying to figure out why their team is currently in the middle of a 3 game losing streak at home at the worst possible time.

Last night was an ideal opportunity to lock-up a playoff spot in front the fans instead the Blues lost and everyone is questioning relationship between head coach Ken Hitchcock and his players. Although, the Notes’ will have a spot in the playoffs, last night’s loss increases the chances of losing home ice advantage as they are a single point ahead of Chicago in the Central Division. This may not necessarily be a bad thing as the Blues’ have posted an embarrassing 4-7 record in the last 11 games at the Scott Trade Center. However, it’s a far cry from being in contention for the President’s trophy two weeks ago.

Hitchcock has coached in St. Louis for four seasons never making it past the second round (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Hitchcock has coached in St. Louis for four seasons never making it past the second round (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

This is not the direction the Blues planned on heading this close to the playoffs. Judging by the post-game reaction following the 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks last night there is a sense that Hitchcock has sent some mixed signals among his organization.

It seems that the core of the team is not playing the system and no one is playing for each other. The scary part is that the team fell apart this time last year and it’s very reminiscent of their six-game losing streak leading up to their first round exit versus the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2014 playoffs.

Oshie Taking the Lead

It’s been a long time coming and forward TJ Oshie wasn’t shy to share his thoughts with the media in attempt to send a message. He and his teammates are not happy with the way things are going with Hitchcock and the message he is currently sending his club. He’s also stated that the same habits from the 2014 playoffs are starting to creep into their game as well.’s Lou Korac has more on Oshie’s comments and also believes it was a message sent to his coach through the media. Even new comer Zbynek Michalek in his 9th game with the Blues (acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline) stood up and gave a strong opinion to the media on how he feels his team is playing right now.

Looking at both comments from Oshie and Michalek the team is in desperate need of some leadership right now. We will never know what is going on for sure in the dressing room, but David Backes needs to step up as captain and bridge the gap now before this situation spirals out of control. He has ultimate control over the guys on his team and lately he has nothing to lead this team to success. While he might lead by example on the ice, he needs to take of this in the media as well. It will be interesting to see how he handles this issue in the next couple of days. From the player’s point of view hopefully he get’s Oshie’s message loud and clear.

On the other hand, from Hitchcock’s point of view, he believes that this slump is directly related to lack of effort shown by everyone on the team, coupled bad defensive coverage, and costly mistakes. He also believes that his team is not desperate enough and they are getting out worked by teams who want it more.

The Blues have to address this right now and adapt or they may be headed down the path the leads to a disappointed off-season full of uncertainty.



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