Nine games into a new season, the Blues have an identity crisis.
Known for hard hats, thick boots and attention to detail, the Blues have been missing in action. The conscientious team has been replaced by an imposter, recognized for short cuts, silly chances and shifts off.

The latter group showed up Tuesday, starting a long home stand with a long night, absorbing a 6-1 beatdown. If it had been a golf tournament, the Note would have been considered a non-competing marker.

Time was, in professional hockey, where such a performance would land the perpetrators in practice hell. They would spend the next day in a “bag skate,” hockey’s equivalent to water-boarding, a place where off-days go to die.

But Ken Hitchcock is not a proponent of corporal punishment, at least not for his hockey team. And these are not “bag skate” times. The Blues do not have more than a day between games for the next two weeks. A bag skate today could lead to a body bag down the road.

Hitchcock is more interested in repairing than reprimanding. The Blues have lost their identity, and they need to find it quickly.

“Video tells you everything,” said Hitchcock, having watched the matinee in Blues offices. “The details of checking have left us and we need to get them back.

“You might win a game or two based on skill. But at the end of the day, if you don’t have the details of checking, you’re not going to win anything. I think we proved that yesterday.”

The proof was in the plastering. The Blues were off to an impressive start, 6-1, allowing fewer shots than a temperance meeting, smothering teams in Jennings Trophy fashion. But something happened on the way to the punch-clock, something that erupted Tuesday night.