Good read here on Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Long story short, apparently Hitch wasn’t exactly loving his job earlier this season.
“There were times in November and December where I thought, ‘This is a struggle.'” he said. “That ended in January. It’s been off and running since. We had some trouble getting players to buy in and you start wondering if we could do it the way we did before. But when you see what this team can do, it’s invigorating.”
Granted, the Blues didn’t look too good in their last outing, a 4-1 loss to Vancouver on Monday that led d-man Zbynek Michalek to conclude, “I don’t think there’s one good thing about our game right now.”
And to be sure, if St. Louis is once again eliminated early in the playoffs, there will be questions about Hitchcock’s job status.
But for what it’s worth, GM Doug Armstrong has said that Hitchcock will coach the Blues until Hitchcock no longer wants the job. And right now it sounds like he still wants the job.
St. Louis is back in action tomorrow versus the Flames.
Not the news St. Louis wanted to hear — on Wednesday, the club confirmed that leading goalscorer Vladimir Tarasenko is out with a lower-body injury, sustained during Monday’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver.
Tarasenko, who sits tied for fifth in the NHL with 36 goals, didn’t practice today and appears unlikely to suit up for Thursday’s home date against Calgary. The Russian sniper’s injury comes at a bad time for the Blues — the club is just 1-3-2 in its last six games and, with 99 points, is in danger of being passed in the Central by third-place Chicago (98 points, with six games left) and current wild card holder Minnesota (95 points, with six games left).
There is a silver lining to the injury, though, in that it creates a roster spot for AHL Chicago sniper Ty Rattie. The AHL’s reigning player of the week — he had seven points in three games — Rattie has 42 points in 59 games this year and looks as though he’s on his way to St. Louis. PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban was at Wolves practice on Wednesday and confirmed Rattie was pulled off the ice, presumably so he could be shipped off to the Blues.
Update: Blues made the Rattie recall official. Also, head coach Ken Hitchcock said that Tarasenko (and fellow injured forward Alex Steen) are both day-to-day, and will be ready for the playoffs.
As if a potential injury to Vladimir Tarasenko wasn’t concerning enough for the St. Louis Blues, it was far from the only worrying thing about Monday’s 4-1 home loss to Vancouver.
Take it away, Zbynek Michalek.
“I don’t think there’s one good thing about our game right now,” the Blues’ defenseman said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We need to look in the mirror. Right now, it seems like everybody’s doing a different thing. They need to get on the same page. We’re not playing for one another.”
The Blues need to pull it together, and soon. The playoffs start in a couple of weeks and right now it looks like a first-round matchup with Chicago, the same team that eliminated St. Louis in last year’s first round.
With just one win in their last six, the Blues host Calgary on Thursday.
Here’s Michalek and Hitch: