An interesting storyline in this Stanley Cup Final is Bruins forward David Backes playing against his former team, the St. Louis Blues – a team in which Backes captained from 2011-2016 before signing with the Bruins in 2016.
Backes played for the Blues almost his whole career, from 2006 to 2016, peaking in 2011 when he made the All Star game and was a finalist for the Selke Trophy. Backes was known for being a phenomenal leader for his teammates, particularly a vocal leader. He likes to talk and take care of his teammates. He has carried these characteristics with him to the Bruins, now in a position where he is a needed veteran and not as much a top skill guy as he was with the Blues.
Although he has the least amount of points he’s ever had in his career and least amount of time spent on the ice in his career, Backes is contributing in different ways with the Bruins. He plays a physical, hard-nose style and is a much needed presence for the Bruins. He also has his best face-off percentage of his career, which leads the team in players with more than 300 attempts. His leadership qualities are also tremendously important for this Bruins team, as he adds another strong veteran presence to a team with a mix of veterans and young players.
In game one against his former team, Backes took a beating. One came from ex-teammate Joel Edmundson. Edmundson crosschecked Backes in the face and got called for it. He took exception to the call as he thought Backes embellished it, and gave him a friendly nudge when he was on the ice. Later in the game, the two had another exchange when Edmundson put his hand in Backes’ face. The two seemed to have a lot of back and forth over the course of the game. Backes and Edmundson actually fought back in 2017, just a short year after the two were teammates.
This was an interesting headline because Backes was Edmundson’s captain for an entire season and a venerated player who is looked up to by his teammates. But there could be underlying tension from Edmundson towards Backes by the way he captained, or frustration that he abandoned the team he played for and loved for a better contract in Boston.
“It’s playoff hockey,” Edmundson commented after the game, putting any rumors to rest. He also said the two were friends even after game one’s scuffle as well as their fight in 2017.
Backes also took an elbow to the face from Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington in the second period of Game one. The Blues could be out to get in Backes’ head the rest of the series to challenge their former captain.
Look for more of this story line in game two tonight as Backes and the Bruins look to challenge the Blues and sweep the two game home stand in Boston.
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