ST. LOUIS — Kevin Shattenkirk is no mind-reader, but he has a pretty good handle on the emotions and approach of St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.
So when Hitchcock met with the team, then followed that up by meeting with the team's leadership group Tuesday after a 3-0 home loss to Edmonton, Shattenkirk got the message.
"I don't think he was as mad as he was just disappointed," Shattenkirk said. "He just holds us to a very high standard. When we don't play there and we play far below it, it hurts him because he knows how good this team is and he doesn't want to see us waste an opportunity like we have."
As the Blues have shown at times, they are capable of competing with and beating the best teams in the league. Unfortunately, they also keep making the same types of mistakes repeatedly while the solid goaltending that was a strength last season has dropped several notches.
"It was a team meeting that we needed to have," Shattenkirk said. "We all said what we needed to say and I think it will be beneficial for us going forward."
Shattenkirk said the players know what they are supposed to be doing, but many times make mistakes when trying to do too much or getting outside their normal structure.
"It's believing what we have in place works, so when things do go wrong... you don't have to feel like you have to take it on yourself and correct everything," Shattenkirk said. "Everyone here wants to be the hero, everyone here wants to be the guy to help team out, get the big goal, whatever it may be. That's when you really need to start trusting the system and trusting that what we have works."
Hitchcock is firm in his belief that an all-in approach is what will lead the Blues back to the win column on a consistent basis.
"The way you need to play to win on a consistent basis in the NHL is extremely difficult," Hitchcock said. "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."
Here come the Kings
The Blues have lost three of four games and on Thursday entertain the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Hitchcock said Jaroslav Halak will start in goal.
These are the same Kings that swept the Blues out of the second round of the playoffs last season before adding 4-1 and 6-4 victories this season.
The Kings (18-12-2) are two points ahead of the Blues (17-13-2) in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Kings are coming off a 5-4 win at Chicago on Monday, but were shut out in their previous two games and had a scoreless streak of 150 minutes, 35 seconds.
Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 10 goals and 30 points, but Jeff Carter (18 goals) and Dustin Brown (12 goals) are the only other L.A. player with more than seven goals.