According to St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, his team has a slight “problem” when it plays the Chicago Blackhawks.
This “problem” is easy enough to understand, even for the most casual of hockey fans; however, it’s a bit more difficult to solve.
“They just don’t give us the puck,” Hitchcock said today, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. “It’s an issue.”
Indeed, the Blackhawks are one of the best puck-possession teams in the NHL — a big reason they won the Stanley Cup a few months ago. (And also a big reason they rank in the bottom half of the league in things like blocked shots and hits, since those are things that teams without the puck do.)
For Hitchcock and the Blues, it’s a challenge that awaits tonight in St. Louis when the ‘Hawks come for a visit.
Granted, St. Louis has its own strengths. The Blues are big, they’re strong, and if they can catch you, they can hurt you.
Whoever ends up winning tonight is likely to be the team that’s able to dictate its preferred style the best.
“I don’t think they can play the way we play and I know we can’t play the way they play,” said Hitchcock, per Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times.