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Blues coach demands more from homegrown players next season

May 12, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

Ken Hitchcock AP

St. Louis’ elimination on Friday night provided coach Ken Hitchcock the opportunity to assess who on his team needs to step up and play better. After all getting bumped out of the postseason by the same team two years in a row can give you a good idea.

As Hitchcock told the press after Friday night’s game, he wants more from a particular group of players as the AP’s R.B. Fallstrom shares.

“Quite frankly, we need more from the people that are homegrown,” Hitchcock said. “And that’s something we’ll address the off-season and in conversations with each individual.

“We need the boys we built around.”

That seems like a very pointed criticism and you have to wonder who he’s calling out. Is it David Backes who was tied for the team lead in points in the playoffs with three? T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, David Perron, or Alex Pietrangelo who had two points apiece. Or is it just a sneaky way of assessing blame with a broad brush?

Regardless of who he wants more from, he needs more from all of them. A good team like St. Louis shouldn’t get shoved out of the playoffs so quickly.

  1. killerpgh - May 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    It will be interesting to see what they do this offseason. Before the tradedeadline acquisition of JayBo the Blues had the lower payroll in the NHL. Yes, lower than teams like the Coyotes. This offseason they have a good bit of UFA/RFA’s to resign and it isn’t going to be cheap. Chris Stewart, Alex Pietranglo, Kevin Shatterkirk and others will be getting raises along with already taking on JayBo’s 6.6 million for next season. Will the owner open up his pockets to keep the team together after acquiring majority ownership of the team?

  2. jonkchar - May 12, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    you know, something I think most of us overlooked is that Davis Payne (assistant coach for the LA Kings) used to be the head coach of the St Louis Blues, and before that, their AHL team the Peoria Rivermen

  3. zwilhelm16 - May 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    I say goodbye Andy McDonald and Chris Stewart. Guys were ghosts in the post season. And of course no Leopold.

  4. clayman98 - May 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Gotta wonder if the owner will continue to spend money on our RFA’s after this putrid showing.

  5. manchestermiracle - May 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Then again, getting knocked out by the future and defending SC champs is not exactly tanking.

  6. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 12, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Gotta love hitch. Coaches/Organizations have to be demanding of all their players, and more so the ones you choose to build around. Ex: Crosby, Toews, Ovi, Subban, Getzlaf, etc……

  7. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    A couple years ago Blues fans would have been very happy to be told that their team would start making the playoffs again, even if it was going to start with some 1st round exits. I get what Hitch is saying, but the call for changes is a bit premature. Before the Yzerman roofed it on the Blues, the Wings were playoff failures, they nearly traded Yzerman to Ottawa, but they didn’t, they kept everyone. Not saying that the Blues have an Yzerman and Lidstrom and can duplicate the Wings. But perhaps the failures made those players hungrier, perhaps they will keep learning from these let-downs.

  8. charleslouis99 - May 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Bobby Ryan anyone?

  9. phillyphanatic77 - May 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    I am a big fan of this Blues team. If they didn’t run into Conn Smythe Quick they would be in round two. The future is definitely bright there. But, like others have said, this off-season will have a huge impact on their future trajectory. They have some UFA’s to consider in McDonald and Leopold, but more importantly, plenty of RFA’s. Chris Stewart ($3mil), Patrik Berglund ($2.25), Alex Pietrangelo ($3.167), Kevin Shattenkirk ($1.3), Ian Cole ($1.3), and Jake Allen are all restricted. Those guys, especially Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo, will probably be looking for hefty long-term contracts. The Blues have plenty of cap space but they have never been a “spend to the cap” team. Will they hand out four new, hefty deals? Just like last summer, I can certainly see Paul Holmgren attempting to pry Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk away from another mid-market franchise with a huge deal. I don’t think it will be successful, just like last summer, but it’s certainly a possibility.

  10. jkaflagg - May 12, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Agree with Hitchcock’s comments and greatly respect his coaching ability…..however, his blunt style sometimes wears on his players, and with the somewhat disappointing playoff results, you have to hope the St. Louis management continues to be patient with his talented team if they struggle next year……the Kings won the Cup last season after replacing Terry Murray with Daryl Sutter, but that doesn’t happen every time and it would tough finding a better coach than Hitch…..

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