There’s been a lot of talk in this shortened season, heck, it’s been said numerous times ever since Coach Hitchcock took the job for the St. Louis Blues, about “buying in.” To the team plan, to the defensive scheme, to whatever it is Coach has been selling. Last year the team appeared to have bought it wholesale and the results were 109 points, nothing to sneeze at. But this year something’s changed. Apparently there are still guys in the locker room that aren’t on board with what the Blues are trying to do, which I can only assume is “Win.” I want to know why.
The “buy-in” has been in the local media a lot lately as the Blues have had a tumultuous season and time is running short to gain the points it’s going to take to make the playoffs in the extremely tight Western Conference race. Jeremy Rutherford has an article this morning at StLToday.com, and he highlights what Coach Hitchcock and a couple of the veterans (Scott Nichol & Wade Redden) on the team are saying about it.
The thing that makes no sense to me is WHY guys have decided not to “buy in.” The results of playing the team game the Blues have cultivated over last season and parts of this one are obvious- when St. Louis plays their game they win, more often than not. So why wouldn’t ALL the players want that? Are there inflated egos in the locker room and on the ice this year? Do these young players honestly believe they can do it all by themselves? I find that hard to believe, considering what we know about Hitchcock’s coaching style and ability.
I’m certainly willing to withhold harsher judgement until after tonight’s game against the Kings, a must-win for the St. Louis Blues. All indicators point toward the team having been discussing all this “buy in” talk over the last couple days, so I’d like to believe it’s going to finally sink in and reflect on the ice. The team has done amazing things this year, but far too often they’ve shown resistance to the plan, usually resulting in another loss.
This game against the Kings and practically all the rest of the games this season represent critical points the Blues must pick up to stay in the playoff race. If the team leadership knows the problem that has seen the team drop 3 of their last 4 games, they need to fix it. Otherwise, all the talking needs to stop. The players always say the right thing to the media, but yet the product on the ice remains flawed. Hitch has said there wont be any more conversations. Or what? What does that mean?
I know I’m not the only fan who thinks this way right now. Hockey fans in St. Louis are upset and I understand why. Talk is cheap, but I’m still not buying it. Make me want to buy tickets again, Blues, Show Me again why I Bleed Blue.
GO BLUES! Long Live the Note!