It’s odd to see how differently NHL head coaches can approach the game. John Tortorella lives and dies by the blocked shot. It seems like St. Louis Blues bench boss Ken Hitchcock couldn’t care less about the stat. Through four games, no team in the league has gotten in the way of more rubber than the Blues.
St Louis Blues lead NHL Playoffs in blocked shots with 84 and Takeaways with 43. #stlblues
— STL Blues History (@STLBlueshistory) April 25, 2014
That doesn’t impress Hitchcock though. After allowing the Chicago Blackhawks back into the series by losing Games Three and Four, the coach doesn’t seem to care much about how many shots St. Louis has blocked.
Hitchcock on blocked shots: “I think shot blocking is the most useless stat in the National Hockey League.” Blues lead playoffs in blocks
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) April 25, 2014
It’s an interesting stance from a guy that has kept the media guessing throughout the postseason to this point. Blocked shots don’t guarantee a victory by any stretch, but if a shot doesn’t make it to the goalie, it can’t end up in the net. To this point, the Blues have been better than anyone in terms of sacrificing the body to prevent shots, but it hasn’t necessarily been a good thing.
David Backes is still struggling with a foot that was injured by a shot, and teams that lay down in front of pucks end up with guys that are more banged up by the end of a series. Take Derek Roy for example, who was held out of Game Four due to bumps and bruises.
Hitchcock’s comments won’t deter the Blues from trying to block shots, but the line of questioning was interesting none the less.