David Backes might again be in trouble with the NHL, and he’s not very happy about it.
The Boston Bruins forward was given an early exit Thursday night, assessed a match penalty for what the referees labeled a check from behind on Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck.
Backes, who was playing his second game back after a previous three-game suspension for a late hit, answered the bell by fighting Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson before hitting the showers.
Here’s Backes’ explanation of the play.
“Tracking back through the middle expecting the puck to be dumped in to go help and maybe be the first man back and all of a sudden (he) cuts to the middle and I’m going to get the puck, and he kind of just turns right into me,” Backes told reporters. “I feel like my shoulder’s down and hit him right through the shoulder. He’s much smaller than I am, but I think probably the good thing is he was back out on the next shift. Injured on the play, but I guess they saw enough to give me a match penalty for it, and we’ll see what happens from here.”
It’s a fairly diplomatic answer, given replay clearly indicated the hit wasn’t even close to being from behind. Was it a little high? Maybe. But as Backes points out, he has 5 inches and almost 30 pounds on Trocheck.
The on-ice ruling even has Backes questioning whether he needs to completely change his style of play moving forward.
“I obviously had two periods to think about it, and that’s the kind of hit I’ve been doing for years. So if this is kind of the new NHL, the new standard, then I hope I can have my old league back,” he said. “If not, then maybe there are some adjustments I need to make. But I’ll tell ya, if I try to get in a toe drag competition with a guy like Trochek, then I’m going to lose. I think the physical part of the game still needs to be there.”
Now, Backes and the Bruins must wait and see whether the NHL agrees.
Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images