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January 2, 2017

Ken Hitchcock

St. Louis, Missouri

Chicago - 1, St. Louis - 4

Q. You gave up the early one, obviously, a bad bounce goal, but as the game went on did you feel like you managed it like you wanted to and, I don\'t know, the "wow factor" really didn\'t affect the guys out there?
KEN HITCHCOCK: I felt we played great today. I thought we ground on them hard, I thought we did a great job in getting pucks deep. I thought we managed the game really well. I thought we played really well. This is the same way we played against Philadelphia, and the way we played for the first half of the game against Nashville. I thought we played a really smart, sound hockey game and, quite frankly, deserved to win.

Q. For it being wet out there and probably some visibility issues how do you think the team was able to adapt so well to the conditions and overcome them.
KEN HITCHCOCK: It\'s kind of our ice. A little muddy, a little sandy, a little pebbly. Perfect. No, it was way better than anybody thought and I think the ice felt heavy, so the shifts were short, you were looking at 25, 30 second shifts. That fits us, too. We kept our energy up, changed great all game, and we used four lines right almost to the end, which was a real good sign for us.

Q. You\'re seeing a lot of big players perform well on the big stage. What is it about Vladi that kind of seems to come to that level?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, he\'s a hungry offensive player. He\'s a guy that he sniffs out weaknesses or he sniffs out coverage issues and he jumps on it. And when he\'s engaged like he was today and like he\'s been for the most part of this year, he\'s dangerous, because he\'s one shift away from breaking the thing wide open. I thought for sure -- he usually doesn\'t miss on those breakaways -- and I thought for sure that was going to be the one. But he was very hungry, he was very heavy and hard on the puck and that\'s, those type of players, they don\'t come around very often. And I just thought he played a great game at the puck. He was very competitive, he won a lot of board battles, he came up with a lot of loose pucks down low. And then, obviously, he\'s just got the gift of knowing where the goalie is not when he\'s on the angles.

Q. What led to the Fabbri/Schwartz switch? Was Schwartz not feeling well? And what did that do for you? You got the goals right after that.
KEN HITCHCOCK: It wasn\'t made because one guy was going better or the other, it comes out of PK. Usually out of penalty killing. So if we\'re killing penalties, we come off of a PK, we always want Lehtera and Tarasenko to come out right after that, so if Schwartz is killed, then Fabbri takes that spot. So it always comes out of special teams. But it\'s not by, it\'s not being disappointed in anything. I liked it both ways. But I thought Robby Fabbri again, now three games in a row, has been excellent and looks like he\'s really healthy and back engaged again, which is a good sign.

Q. Can you describe your view of the atmosphere, the look and the sound and the feel of the atmosphere?
KEN HITCHCOCK: Well, as I told the players, once the puck\'s dropped, it\'s 85 x 200 and it\'s a glassed-in hockey rink. But you can\'t help but look around. And it\'s just almost overwhelming to look around. I think that the thing that\'s really interesting is the feel I got from a baseball standpoint is, I could hear what everybody was saying to us as we were coming on and off the ice. And it will be really interesting if you didn\'t have a good baseball team here. But it\'s an amazing atmosphere because the people are right there with you. Hockey, we\'re muffled. We\'re muffled because of the glass around the boards, we go down a tunnel, we come out of a tunnel. But, man, the atmosphere when you\'re walking onto the, onto the stage or you\'re coming off in between periods, it\'s amazing how engaged the fans are and how supportive they are and how much they want you to do well. But I think for our players that was a great experience to feel like you were a player of another sport, because it\'s what happens in football, it\'s what happens in baseball, and it was very unique for me to walk and actually see faces and people are like six feet away from you encouraging you.

Q. Can you tell us about your hat?

Q. Well, why did you choose that hat, what kind of hat was it?
KEN HITCHCOCK: I didn\'t choose it, the boys over at Levine chose it for me. I was told that that\'s the best place to go and get one. And so I went there and the guy suggested a sombrero, and I told the guy, "I\'m round enough as it is," so we settled on a navy fedora and the Stetson style. And it was one and done. So, I asked the players to vote on it and if they would have voted no, I wouldn\'t have worn it, but they voted yes. They needed a laugh before the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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