Encircled by media eight hours before the Blues took to home ice Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche, Ken Hitchcock was decidedly not Cup Crazy.

With his team facing another chance to clinch a playoff berth, the Blues head coach backhanded a TV reporter’s soft-toss that involved the postseason. He grew curt when confronted by a must-ask regarding left wing David Perron’s temporary demotion to the fourth line.

“It’s part of the 12. Don’t read anything into it,” Hitchcock snapped, his request seemingly a lot to ask when discussing the Blues’ fourth-leading scorer.

Hitch’ then offered a flat thank you and exited the room.

Hitchcock left a distinct impression that he was not enthralled with his team, which entered the conclusion of its home-and-home against the Avalanche having won eight of its last 11 games with few style points.

“I don’t want to talk about playoffs,” Hitchcock said earlier in the day. “Let’s get in.”

Well, the Blues got in Tuesday night, beating the destitute Avalanche for just the fourth time in the teams’ last 15 games. They out-shot the visitors 34-18, allowing only three second-period shots on goal. A power play that had sputtered for much of the month converted twice within a 3-1 win. But one was left to wonder if the game’s outcome was as revealing as Hitchcock’s bad-hair morning.

The oft-frustrating Blues could leverage this three-game home stand to land anywhere from the No. 4 to No. 8 seed within the Western Conference. The range means they could open the playoffs at Scottrade Center against nemesis Los Angeles or San Jose or open in Chicago against the top-seed Blackhawks,

“I don’t want to pick our poison right now,” general manager Doug Armstrong said. “I don’t want to play Chicago right now. Other than that, we’re going to be ready to take on whoever has to come. Chicago is the one team that from start to finish has put a three-month distance between itself and the rest of the pack. Anything else in the conference is nothing more than a mild upset.”

The National Hockey League’s reigning coach of the year has proved equal parts prophet, teacher and taskmaster during an abbreviated schedule. Hitchcock worried how a young, impressionable team would adjust to becoming one of the hunted following a 109-point season. Hitchcock has lamented for much of the season his team’s reluctance to “buy in,” an oblique challenge to its toughness and selflessness.