We might be seeing the final two games of David Backes’ career.
The veteran forward has hinted at retirement following this season, when the five-year contract he signed with the Boston Bruins in 2016 is up.
It never was more apparent that this could be it for Backes than Wednesday, when he was saluted by fans and Blues players alike in St. Louis, where he spent the bulk of his career.
The morning after, some of his former Bruins teammates raved about Backes.
“When I first came in, he was one of the leaders on this team,” B’s winger Jake DeBrusk said after morning skate over Zoom. “They gave him a good tribute there in St. Louis, it’s emotional. It’s emotional to see from just a friends standpoint the things that he had to do, especially around this time when he was here with us, had to deal with certain aspects of where he was playing in the lineup and expectations. I think that he handled it really well, just an ultimate professional and, like I said, a really good friend of mine.
“I haven’t talked to him in a little bit, but obviously last night with that video tribute, you could just see the type of emotion, he wore it on his sleeve. That’s one thing I know can never be taken away from him, what he’s done in his career.”
In the final months of his run with the Bruins, Backes struggled with effectiveness, often getting relegated to a bottom six, checking role. He was a healthy scratch for the final two games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, getting replaced in the lineup by Karson Kuhlman, who had a goal in Game 6.
To this day, though, Kuhlman has nothing but admiration for Backes.
“What an awesome guy. Brought his best to the rink every day,” Kuhlman said Thursday. “It was my first year in the league when I was lucky enough to be teammates with him, and I just tried to be a sponge and soak up everything that he said and did. He just did everything the right way. What an awesome career he’s had through the whole thing.”
Thus far, Backes has 965 career regular season NHL games to his name, with 248 goals and 313 assists.