ST. LOUIS --
When Ken Hitchcock stepped behind the Blues' bench for the first time Tuesday night, not much changed as far as the lineup was concerned.
However, one change turned into a very bright spot, where recently recalled defenseman Ian Cole
Cole, who played 26 games and recorded 1 goal and 3 assists in his first stop of NHL duty last season, played in his first game this season after being called up from the American Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen.
It may have arguably been his best game as a pro.
"Really good," Hitchcock said of Cole's game. "I don't even know anything about him and he just looked like an NHL player yesterday.
"He was strong, he won a lot of 1-on-1s, very competitive. ... I liked the part that he was comfortable moving the puck in the middle of the ice instead, rather than just banging it off the boards getting it out. He made plays in the middle of the ice and really got us out of trouble."
Cole didn't register a point in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Chicago but played solid with partner Roman Polak
. Cole played 18 minutes, 59 seconds, and blocked two shots in the game, but as Hitchcock said, made smart decisions.
"I really liked it," Cole said of his game. "I thought as a whole it was good, but as far as dissecting it, there were definitely things I could have done better."
"I can think of four or five things I wish I could have done differently," Cole said. "As soon as they happened, I was like, 'Why did I do that?'
"I'm probably my hardest critic."