After a crushing Game 2 loss (and particularly a stunning 4-0 first period), St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was quick to praise the Los Angeles Kings for their 5-2 win. The veteran bench boss wasn’t too harsh toward his young – and potentially rattled – team and was probably wise to take it easy on Brian Elliott since Jaroslav Halak isn’t walking through that door anytime soon.
Instead, Hitchcock critiqued the team’s collective efforts when discussing the game in front of Lou Korac and others.
“They checked us hard and we coughed up the puck,” Hitchcock said. “We made mistakes.”
Hitchcock also brought up the Blues’ anemic power play, if you want a more specific criticism. He has good reason to critique the man advantage, too. St. Louis went 0-for-9 in Game 2 (one shorthanded goal allowed), 0-for-12 in the series so far (three SHG allowed) and 0-for-23 in the regular season. One might have to bump that power play from a “problem” to a “crisis.”
Getting Alex Pietrangelo back might be the easiest way to make things a little better, but he’s still day-to-day according to Hitchcock.
One way or another, improving special teams and defensive coverage is the name of the game for St. Louis. If Hitchcock wants to make his Jack Adams nomination ring true, he’ll have to find a way to get through to his struggling young team immediately.
He might be justified in taking his relatively gentle approach, though.
Pascal Dupuis can’t escape his health issues.
Dupuis, who’s missed over 100 games the last two years with various ailments, will now be sidelined for 4-5 weeks with a lower-body injury, per the Penguins.
Dupuis’ injury is not related to previous health issues — a torn ACL and blood clotting — but it will keep him out for a fairly significant length of time. The Penguins play 11 games in the opening month of October, and three more in the first week of November.
The 36-year-old winger had been working with a variety of linemates during the preseason, but was frequently paired up with center Nick Bonino. The hope for Pittsburgh is that Dupuis can return to full health and replicate some of the success he had during his last full season — the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, in which he scored 20 goals and 31 points in 48 games.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Looking back at 10 years of Alex Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
David Conte spent 10,000 days with Lou Lamoriello and lived to tell about it. (TSN)
Want to spot some contract year guys? Here are 32 pending restricted free agents. (Sportsnet)
NHL GMs are starting to sniff around with the 2015-16 season about to kick off. (Ottawa Sun)
Some backstory on Zack Kassian that was passed around on Twitter last evening. (Canucks website)
Hey, you can’t say Raffi Torres hasn’t literally paid for his ways:
This is some quality chirping between Jaromir Jagr and Matthew Barnaby: