Kings At Blues Morning Open Thread: Did The Message Sink In?

Dilip Vishwanat

The Blues got a good talking to by coach Ken Hitchcock after the game on Tuesday. Will they perform better tonight against the Kings?

The Blues and the Kings, well, these games usually don't end well for St. Louis. The Blues have already lost two games to the Kings this year, and then there's the playoff sweep, and then there's last season, and... you get the picture. After a rough 3-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, a win tonight's just what the doctor ordered. The trick is, can the Blues get it?

The team had some serious discussion after the game Tuesday, according to the News-Democrat's Norm Sanders. They had a couple of closed door meetings after the game that lasted quite a bit.

"I don't think he was as mad as he was just disappointed," [Kevin] Shattenkirk said. "He just holds us to a very high standard. When we don't play there and we play far below it, it hurts him because he knows how good this team is and he doesn't want to see us waste an opportunity like we have."

That's interesting, because most fans that I know feel the same way too. We all know how good this team is, so results like Tuesday's and Sunday's against Calgary, well, they just don't make sense to us, either.

What's the problem? According to Shattenkirk, it's personal stuff -- but this time it's hard to take it in a negative light. It's not showboating, it's wanting to be the guy who gets the win for the team.

"It's believing what we have in place works, so when things do go wrong... you don't have to feel like you have to take it on yourself and correct everything," Shattenkirk said. "Everyone here wants to be the hero, everyone here wants to be the guy to help team out, get the big goal, whatever it may be. That's when you really need to start trusting the system and trusting that what we have works."

That's good. The trick is, translating that from an individualistic mindset over to a team based one. You can want to win for the team, but it's still about you when you put the onus totally on yourself. It's not selfish, but technically it's still egotistic.

Scott Nichol has another viewpoint that's hard to disagree with:

"It's a team sport," he said. "It's so different than any other sport, from the most skilled guy to the guy who doesn't have a whole lot ... It doesn't matter who you are or how much money you make. The buy-in is a collective group and everyone on the same page, it makes the game a lot easier.

"You go into some of these buildings, especially in the playoffs where you can't even hear yourself think, and that's where your structure and foundation comes into play. You know where guys are without really even having to look -- because you know he's there and he has your back."

So, has the message from the coach and vets like Nichol sunk in? We'll see tonight.

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