The fans at Scottrade Center will get a chance to welcome new coach Ken Hitchcock to his spot behind the bench tonight. Where it goes from there is up to the players.
He told Jeremy Rutherford that he could have the power play "fixed in one practice." Granted, the mistakes were glaring, but is Ken Hitchcock a miracle worker? He has a chance to show that he is tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. It's been typed over and over and over again, both here and other media outlets, how terrible the special teams are. It's been assumed that they're part of the reason that coach Davis Payne was fired. It's been a catalyst for the question of why weren't the assistant coaches - or most of them - let go first?
Tonight won't be an easy match-up. The Blues are one game under .500 and currently sit second to last in the Western Conference. They're in the mix since the season's still early, but they need to turn it around ASAP. Of course, Hitchcock's first step forward to fixing things is against the Chicago Blackhawks. Playing the Hawks is always tough, what with the rivalry and all that seeps down to the players' level, but they're playing better than they did last season. They've begun with an 8-3-3 record, good for first in the Central. Sure, they just came off a terrible loss at home to the Vancouver Canucks, in which the Hawks lost 6-2.
But how'd the Hawks lose it? By allowing five power play goals. If the Blues ever needed a chance to bolster self-esteem and show that the PP is moving in a positive direction, tonight's it. Also, they've won three in a row at home, have four more games at Scottrade after tonight's, and they play very well in front of a home crowd. Honestly, if the Blues don't seize this opportunity, they're nuts - or perhaps still not used to accountability. According to General Manager Doug Armstrong, that time's up:
"There's no other issues," Armstrong said. "(The players) have one of the best coaches in the history of our game. He's going to put up one of the best game plans on a nightly basis. And the responsibility is for them to perform. I thought this was a time to put that challenge on their plates."