“We have four lines bound and determined to win their matchup,” Backes said.
Still, as the Blues have proven in the past, it’s a long season and the most important thing is peaking in the playoffs. Hitchcock is doing everything he can to guard against his players thinking they’re the best team in the league.
“Hitch does a good job in video sessions showing us what we’re doing wrong and what we can improve on,” Oshie said humorously.
Still, this Blues team is for real. This will be the “Year of the Blues.”
Bank on it, unless this column appears again next year.
NHL short takes
Building a fort on an NHL bench
Avs coach Patrick Roy took some potshots at Blues coach Ken Hitchcock after Colorado’s loss Wednesday to St. Louis because he was still upset that in his mind, Hitchcock took some shots at him for the opening night scene when he tried to push the glass partition between the benches onto Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
Roy was upset that 2013 No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon was kneed late in the game.
I talked to Hitchcock on Monday about that incident, and he joked that he planned to “put up a fence” Wednesday.
“When you coach junior hockey, you are the father figure to those players,” Hitchcock said. “You have an emotional connection to those players. You are responsible for them 24 hours of their life, not like you are in the pros.
“It takes a few years before you get to understand that there’s a separation like there is in professional hockey. I get what he was thinking. [MacKinnon’s] a young player that he had a personal attachment to watching him grow up and play. I get that part. I just know from my standpoint, I’m building a fort [Wednesday].”
Swedish through and through
St. Louis’ Alex Steen might have been born in Winnipeg, but make no mistake, he’s Swedish and will represent Sweden in the Olympics.
“That ship has sailed, unfortunately,” said Hitchcock, Team Canada’s assistant coach.
Added American David Backes, the Blues’ captain: “I believe he’s got the crowns on the chest. He’ll throw Swedish in there now and then just to reaffirm that.”