ST. LOUIS — Asked what he might have done 10 years ago following a pair of lopsided home defeats like the St. Louis Blues suffered through this week, coach Ken Hitchcock showed how he has evolved.
"We probably would have done different things today," Hitchcock said Friday after putting the team through an informative video session highlighting the good, bad and the ugly from a 6-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday and Thursday's 5-1 loss to Detroit. "But you learn. You learn over time that it's not the end of the world. If you treat it like the end of the world ... my job is to get them out of the ditch.
"You don't get them out of the ditch with a bunch of criticism and a bunch of conflict. My job is to get them back up and running and feeling good about themselves. As much as you want them to learn from the mistakes, they've got to see the good stuff, too."
As a result, there was no "bag skate" Friday where a hockey coach skates a team into the ground as punishment for misdeeds.
Instead, Hitchcock relied on video and the pride of a wounded team that began the season 6-1 before losing its last three games while being outscored 16-5.
Five players and goalie Jake Allen were on the ice for an optional practice, but most others chose to work out on their own with another stiff test coming Saturday night at home against Anaheim.
Anaheim was 7-1-1 headed into a Friday night game in Dallas.
"I think it's the best situation," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "We're going to see a team that's playing their best hockey, a team that's one of the best in the Western Conference if not the league right now.
"It's going to force us to raise our level just like last night should have."
Instead, the Blues fell flat for the second time in three days.
Attention to detail at both ends of the ice were to blame, with everything from a lack of forechecking and offensive pressure to complete confusion in the defensive zone.
"We're a checking team," Blues forward Andy McDonald said. "When we're playing well, we're on top of the puck all over the ice and it doesn't matter what line's going over the boards. We smother teams and we've had games where we've had 40 minutes of that, (but) obviously not 60."
Shattenkirk talked about some of the biggest areas of concern for a team that has dropped three in a row under Hitchcock for the first time during the regular season
"It's just panic, I think," he said. "We're not really trusting each other in the defensive zone and trying to do other people's jobs. That trust that we had last year and the beginning of this season in the defensive zone is what makes us so sound defensively."
After the Blues cut Detroit's lead to 2-1 Thursday on a goal by Alex Pietrangelo, breakdowns helped the Red Wings score twice in a span of 1 minute, 31 seconds before the second period ended.
"I think there's been a little bit of arrogance that's kind of crept into our game here, a little bit of complacency," Shattenkirk said. "I think we're just expecting things to fall into place for us because they did last year. We're kind of just sitting back and waiting for it to happen rather than making it happen."
Hitchcock decided on going the video route instead of the old-school hockey punishment of a conditioning practice without pucks.
"We're banged up, like everybody's banged up right now," he said. "You have to manage it through video. What really magnifies everything is it's 48 games. If this was an 82-game season, the last two games you write off, you move on. There's lots of time.
"There's not a lot of time. We're two games away from the quarter-pole already, so you've got to get your game back in order. You can't be chasing your game."