ST. LOUIS -- It's non-game days that makes Ken Hitchcock a load to deal with from a player's perspective, simply because he's a stickler for teaching on practice days.
Hitchcock, who said he likes to practice in smaller rinks, was going full bore Wednesday. Thursday was an optional gameday skate for the players.
"Days like (Wednesday), I'm a bear," he said. "Between the video and the teaching and the preparation for practice, I'm really selfish. The day of the game, I find it very peaceful and relaxing. Competition is what it is, but I find that practice days for me are, 'Get out of my way. It's my time.'"
Hitchcock said the style of game he likes his players to play is hard, not only mentally but physically as well.
"The whole game is about back-pressure, tempo and (a) 200-foot (game)," Hitchcock said. "It's not easy playing that way."
He believes the Blues are physically there but mentally, it will take some getting used to.
[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.
— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday