I shaved before I went to the Blues' game Tuesday night. I looked like a member of the band ZZ Top when head coach Ken Hitchcock emerged from his office to speak with reporters about his club's Zzzzzzz 3-0 loss to Edmonton. As you might have expected, or already read, Hitchcock once again pointed out that the team's "buy-in" is not evident. “Look, I know we had a lot of shots on goal, but it’s not a good feeling when you don’t have everybody … in order to win in the National Hockey League on a consistent basis, you need to have everybody on the same page all the time," Hitchcock said. "That’s the sense of pride you need to have. That’s where we’re trying to get to. It’s a challenge to get there, but once you’re there, then it becomes matter of fact on a nightly basis. We’re not there. We’re not there.” The term 'buy in' is one that is thrown around in NHL locker rooms more often than a dirty towel. But what exactly does it mean? If the Blues want to be in the playoffs, why are they not buying in, and while we're talking about it, what exactly are they not buying into? Being in the locker room every day for the last eight seasons, I have a good understanding of what the Blues mean when the drop the phrase. But I wanted to hear it from them. So today, I asked a few veteran players and Hitchcock himself, "Describe the term 'buy-in'" and what it means: Scott Nichol • "It's a team sport. It's so different, I think, than any other sport from the most skilled guy to the guy who doesn't have a whole lot. It doesn't matter who you are or how much money you make, the 'buy in' is a collective group and everyone on the same page ... and it makes the game a lot easier. You go into some of these buildings, especially in the playoffs and you can't even hear yourself think and that's where your structure and your foundation comes into play. You know where guys are without really even having to look because you know he's there and he has your back. That's a little bit of everyone being on the same page. It's human nature when things don't go very well, especially with professional athletes because they take it so personal, to want to do so much. You take it on yourself and that's where you get away from the team concept because you think you can just put the team on your back and do it yourself, but that's not the case. It's not because we don't care. Sometimes it's because we care too much and we try and do it ourselves rather than lean on our teammates to get us out of this tough time."
What is the 'buy-in?'
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Mar 27