Hitchcock upset with veteran players - KMOV.com

Hitchcock upset with veteran players

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By Eric Lorenz By Eric Lorenz

(HockeyStL) -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is not happy with the way his team is performing at home.

After winning three straight road games, the Blues returned to the Scottrade Center for a 2-1 loss to the Sharks. It’s a result the fans are being accustomed to on a nightly basis at home.

“This is common what we’ve been doing the last four or five games at home. It’s the same stuff,” Hitchcock said. “Too many guys want the game to be a little easier. That’s the difference. It’s a natural instinct. You’re at home, you want it to be easier. It’s the way it is -- natural human tendency.”

The Blues are currently mired in a five-game home losing streak. Only once in the five games have the Blues scored more than one goal. The anemic offense at home has hit its boiling point for Hitchcock.

“Too many passengers. Too many people not pulling their weight. Too much skill ahead of work on certain guys, same guys,” Hitchcock said.

“Night in and night out at home -- don’t do it on the road but we do it at home. We’re not good enough and we’re not skilled enough to play that way but that’s what happens.”

The Blues arrived in St. Louis at 6:30 a.m. local time Tuesday morning after waiting nearly 15 hours to depart from Vancouver Monday.

“We had a tough day of travel, but it’s no excuse for the loss tonight,” Barret Jackman said. “We just didn’t do the things we needed to do. We didn’t get enough shots on net.”

The Blues pumped out 26 shots in the loss, but a lot came from dump-in attempts from the neutral zone. It wasn’t the effort the Blues needed after winning its last three games and the veterans aren’t setting a great example.

“I look at it as we have to get people to change,” Hitchcock said. “These are veteran players that we have to get to change. We have to work with them to figure it out. That’s what we have to do.

“There’s a reason we scored one goal. Our goalie was great. We didn’t give up much after the first six minutes, but we didn’t get much either. It was an unfortunate second goal, but when you’re constantly scoring one goal at home there’s a reason -- you’re not going in the hard areas, you’re not doing the hard things.”

The issue has forced Hitchcock to mix-and-match the lineup to search for a needed spark. He has no plans, though, of pairing his top two defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo together. He just wants them to play better.

“No. Both of them probably could play better will help us,” Hitchcock added. “Both guys need to play better. They’re our top players, they’re like a lot of our top players at home who are probably like six or seven other guys. They just need to play better.”

The Blues will get back in the air to play the Avalanche Wednesday night.

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