Its hard to pick a place to begin with David Backes. Spending 15 years in the NHL is impressive to say the least. The numbers for your numbers guy: 965 games played, 248 goals, 313 assists, 561 points, and 1,148 penalty minutes. Ten years ago today he was named captain of the St. Louis Blues. Backes would serve as the captain for the Blues from 2011-2016.
It kind of feels like he’s always been a captain. He’s shown leadership qualities ever since I can remember. When you hear the name Backes, hard work comes to mind. He really is such a gritty player who fits right in with the Blues playing style. Backes helped shaped the way the Blues played for so many years and continue to play today.
It’s going to be tough thinking Backes is not in the league anymore. Between St. Louis, Boston, and Anaheim where could he have landed next? Nashville seems like an appropriate spot. For whatever reason I can picture David Backes in Preds colors maybe just because he looks good in yellow. Backes was drafted in the second round of that infamous 2003 NHL Entry draft in Nashville. He will always be a Blue and after today he has officially retired as member of the St. Louis Blues where his heart and soul has always been.
I can’t imagine that feeling being on the other side of the ice when the Blues hoisted that Cup. The team that drafted you. The place where you spent the first ten years of your career. Can you imagine what that must feel like? Backes played it off like a champ and although he isn’t a true Stanley Cup Champion he definitely worked hard enough to be a Stanley Cup Champion. Backes has been open on his regrets about not getting to the finals or winning The Cup while he was playing for the Blues.
What if Boston never matched the offer Backes received from St. Louis? The Blues originally offered Backes a four year deal worth $5 million a season back in 2016. Backes wanted at least four years but Army was hesitant to give a 32-year-old anything more than four years at $6 million a year. Boston matched the $6 million and even gave him an option for a fifth year. The fifth year never happened because Backes was part of a package that sent him to the Ducks for Ondrej Kase. It wasn’t a surprise that year with the Anaheim Ducks would be his final season as a player. We knew that emotional night in St. Louis wasn’t the end to the Backes Blues story.
Assuming he has time in-between the wife, kids, and puppies maybe we will see him behind the bench again one day. Just ‘a numbers guy’ from Minnesota who loves the game of hockey its hard not to believe David Backes will one day coach. The city of St. Louis will always have a place for you. David Backes will always be apart of the Blues, thank you!
I have loved David Backes since I first saw him play for St. Louis. He was a one man wrecking crew that epitomized what it meant to play a 200-foot game. It was big hits with a scorer’s touch, hard on the forecheck and dogged on the backcheck: he made his opponents earn every inch of ice. Backes was one of the players around the league that whenever the Bruins played against him, you’d hear the begrudging respect “Man he’d be a great Bruin”. That lofty praise was reserved for the few blood and guts type player that could contribute with points and PIMS. Playing the game the “right way” protecting teammates and being “good in the room”; those guys are rare and (ask any NHL GM) hard to find.
Backes played over 200 games for the Black and Gold over 4 seasons; compiling over 130 points and almost 170 PIMS. His style of play caught up with him after a decade of roughneck work in St. Louis and he wasn’t the player he once was; but he changed his game to be more defensive and made himself even harder to play against. Still came with the physical presence and the high hockey IQ every single game. No one questioned his heart and desire. This guy didn’t take a shift off, let alone a game off. Backes did everything the Bruins coaching staff asked of him, shuttling up and down the lineup and even handling his first ever healthy scratch like a true professional. He was a natural leader and wore the “A” for the Bruins as well as being a mentor to the younger players.
I’ll never forget his “Fists over America” tour in 2010 when he took on Canadian Olympians in the run up to the games. I remember the interview when he said he had “no idea” that all his dance partners would be playing for Team Canada. I remember his emotional interview when he talked about Steve Ott helping him get ready to play game 5 even though it meant he would be replacing Ott in the lineup. I also remember his heartfelt words after Scott Sabourin got injured in an unlucky collision. He wore his heart on his sleeve and his love and respect for the game and its’ players was always evident.
How tough it must have been to be on the opposite bench when the Blues finally won their Stanley Cup. How he so much deserved to be part of the celebration and honor. This guy WAS hockey in St. Louis for 10 years and he deserved to lift The Cup.
Thank you David Backes. Thank you for all your off ice work in the community. Thank you for your big heart for rescue dogs. Thank you for playing for the crest at all times. Thank you for being a Bruin.