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Ken Hitchcock using fear to motivate his team as deadline approaches

Ken Hitchcock

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock gives his team instructions during the closing minutes of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Detroit won 3-1. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


We’re in the silly season of the trade deadline and with the St. Louis Blues in contention for the Stanley Cup this season, people are curious as to how much they’ll be tweaking things for their playoff run.

According to Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues might just be keeping quiet. With guys like Alex Steen and Matt D’Agostini still out with injuries and Jason Arnott, Andy McDonald, and Kent Huskins just back from their own ailments it’s like acquiring new talent.

Coach Ken Hitchcock tells O’Neill that he has another way to keep the guys on his roster motivated.

“We’re getting close to the trade deadline, so we want as many players as we can maneuver around. We want to keep the players on edge that aren’t performing, so they understand that it’s not a given. They’re not just going to get a spot on the team and keep it. It’s going to be performance-based. And the third thing is, we want to know that if somebody goes down, we’ve got somebody comparable to come in.”

That fear of playing well or else you’ll be benched or shipped out is a powerful one and with the Blues being one of the better teams in the Western Conference, it’s a strong reminder that you’d better keep things right or else.