Everybody was curious to hear Ken Hitchcock’s remarks in the wake of Friday’s wild Game 2 loss to Chicago.
And Hitchcock, to his credit, responded like you’d expect a seasoned bench boss to respond.
“We’re upset, but we can’t let it get in the way of what we’re going to have to do,” Hitchcock said after Vladimir Tarasenko‘s would-be goal was wiped out after Joel Quenneville’s successful coach’s challenge, paving the way for a 3-2 Chicago win. “Calls aren’t going to go your way, you’re not going to get the officiating you want.
“It’s going to seem like it’s one-sided.”
Quenneville’s successful challenge — easily the biggest in a brief Stanley Cup playoff history — turned the game on its head. Jori Lehtera was correctly deemed to have entered the attacking zone offside prior to Tarasenko scoring, but that play itself wasn’t the only story.
There was the aftermath.
A visibly frustrated Tarasenko took a slashing penalty after the challenge, which in turn led to Andrew Shaw‘s power-play goal.
Which, in turn, led to another challenge.
Hitchcock alleged Shaw interfered with Brian Elliott on the play, and officials were forced to go back to the monitor. This time, though, there would be no overturning — Shaw’s goal held up, sending the Scottrade crowd into a chorus of boos.
Under normal circumstances, Friday’s game would be seen as a potential momentum swinger.
But in the case of St. Louis, it could be seen as much more — this is a club that, for the last three years, has faced major hurdles getting out of Round 1. After an emotional 1-0 OT win in the series opener, things looked to be going the Blues’ way… only for Friday night to happen.
Hitchcock, it seemed, was well aware of this being a potential turning point.
But he sounded determined not to let it be.
“When you play the defending Cup champions, you’re going to have to fight through a lot of stuff,” he said. “That’s the way it is.”