Numerous reports and rumors have surfaced over the last few days that the St. Louis Blues are having some issues in their locker room. These reports range from Jaroslav Halak having a shouting match with Ken Hitchcock to there just being some mostly harmless division in the dressing room.
It's unclear where the truth lies, but Jeremy Rutherford confirms that the St. Louis locker room is a "disjointed" one.
In Rutherford's live chat on STLToday, he noted that there was an argument between Hitchcock and Halak.
"There was a verbal argument between Hitchcock and Halak earlier in the series. I was not nearby when this happened and I have not heard a first-hand account. So until I get a chance to talk to Hitchcock or Halak about this, I don't have any other details. But I can confirm that it did happen."
This might not answer all of the questions and speculation out there, but it does confirm that there was a disagreement. The severity of the disagreement is unknown. Everyone will have to wait until there's more information on this before making too much or too little of this situation.
As for other issues in the locker room, Rutherford responds:
"In the amount of time and space we have, I would use the word disjointed. To me it would be wrong to say there are major issues, players feuding, anything like that. But the room is not nearly as seamless as I've seen it in the past."
Good news: No players feuding, as far as we know. Bad news: The room is somewhat divided.
This isn't exactly surprising news considering the Blues have coughed up a 2-0 series lead over the LA Kings. It's possible some tensions developed prior to the playoffs, but that's information we don't have. Ideally, everyone would be happy and on the same page with the team's season on the line. The reality is that when you combine that many unique personalities in one room that it's unreasonable to assume everyone will get along. The hope is that players can put any feelings and opinions to the side when they take the ice.
It's important not to examine this type of information too closely. Guys are bound to get a bit irritated of one another when they spend so much time together over a stretch of months. It's also stretch to believe the Blues' struggles have to do with this rift or this "disjointed" room. It sounds like yet another excuse as opposed to the harsher, more troubling truth that the Blues lack finishers and lack the right attitude to make a serious run.
This news might point to what most of us already expect: The core group's days are numbered. If the Blues crash out of the playoffs either against the Kings are later on, look for the team's management to change things up. The main group has been given the past few years to prove they have what it takes to make a serious run. To date, they've always fallen short and the group needs to be tinkered with to make it to the next level.