ST. LOUIS — More than an hour after the St. Louis Blues' 3-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers had finished Tuesday night, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock finally met with the media.
Hitchcock explained he had met with the team's leadership group behind closed doors and was asking for "a complete buy-in."
The Blues (17-13-2) have lost three of their last four games while trying to keep pace in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
"It's going to require a deeper buy-in from the group, which is what we talked about here with our leaders," Hitchcock said. "It's going to take a deeper buy-in by the group for us to be successful and I think that's going to be a partnership between management, coaches and players. It's going to have to be deeper. It's not deep enough."
Hitchcock said there was not an issue with leadership from the players.
"No, it's a collective buy-in across the board of playing the game the right away all the time so you give yourself a chance to win," he said. "We're in and then we're out, we're in and then we're out."
Hitchcock believes the team's inconsistent play has gone on long enough.
"Since our 6-1 start, we're one game under .500," he said. "That's reality. We want to be better, so we're trying to get better."
Hitchcock tried to explain what he was looking for from his team.
"Coaching is to collect the buy-in on a regular basis," he said. "First time through it was easy and then you have success. The way you need to play to win on a consistent basis in the NHL is extremely difficult. Teams that have it, it's like gold.
"And the teams that have had it and lost it, you can see them getting it back. Chicago, Pittsburgh, they want to win -- now. They changed from the way they played last year to this year.
"We want that buy-in back and so do our leaders. We're going to find a way to get it, but we're not there yet."