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Hitchcock: "We've earned right to be in this race"

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Hitchcock after practice

Hitchcock meest with media after practice

Ken Hitchcock talks to the media following the team's first practice after the NHL All-Star break

  • 02:41 •

HAZELWOOD, Mo. - The Blues were back at the rink Monday after a three-day hiatus due to the NHL All-Star break, and Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock liked what he saw at practice.

"We had great tempo, great flow," Hitchcock said. "It was really good to see."

As the Blues get set to begin the post All-Star break portion of their schedule, they find themselves in the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. But Los Angeles, who currently doesn't have a playoff spot, it just one point behind them.

"We've got 33 games left and we're in a playoff race; a playoff hunt," Hitchcock said. "We've earned the right to still be in this race. We've had an up and down season, our highs have been really high and our lows have been really low. We're in a situation right now where if we can even out our play, I like our chances."

Nailing down a playoff spot begins Tuesday, when the Blues host the Winnipeg Jets at Scottrade Center. The team will also host the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins this week before embarking on a five-game road trip.

"This is that time of year that quite frankly, the only way you get in is with your work, determination and grit level," Hitchcock added. "Who wants it the most? You have to want it through your work… We want to see the consistent work ethic coming through in our hockey club.

"Whoever is giving it to us, those are going to be the guys we really lean on right now," he added. "We're not in a position to wait and hope."

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