The last memory Boston Bruins fans have of David Backes from this past season is him getting helped off the ice at Amalie Arena.
In Game 5 of the B’s second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Backes took a thunderous hit to the jaw from J.T. Miller in the second period. He was down on the ice for a little bit and only managed to get up and down the tunnel with the help of teammates. Backes didn’t return to the game and the Bruins ultimately lost, which saw their promising season come to an end.
Miller’s hit on Backes really was the culmination of an injury-riddled campaign for the veteran. He missed time at the beginning of the season due to diverticulitis, then was absent for a chunk of the back half of the season after getting sliced on the leg by a skate.
While it undoubtedly was a taxing string of months for Backes, his outlook heading into this season is positive. In an interview with The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont for his Sunday Hockey Notes, Backes explained why he has optimism heading into this campaign.
“It was a season of complete randomness,” Backes told Dupont. “Chances are those lightning bolts don’t strike again, and that makes me extremely optimistic for the year.”
One thing that has plagued Backes in both his time with Boston and throughout his career are head injuries. He’s well aware of the danger repeated blows to the head present, and indicated to Dupont that he’s put plenty of thought into his long-term health.
But with that in mind, he’s been given the go-ahead from medical personnel to play this season, and his workouts have been increasingly symptom-free as the summer has gone on.
“As time’s gone by, the symptoms have disappeared and not come back with whatever exercise I’ve done, so I am feeling well going into the season,” Backes said. “The unknown of long-term effects of concussions is, I mean, it certainly is not lost in analyzing my well-being and how I’m feeling.”
In 57 regular-season games last year, Backes slashed 14-19-33 as a fixture on Boston’s third line.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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