Bruins

Backes emotional at chance to win a Cup after 'thinking about it for a long time'

Backes emotional at chance to win a Cup after 'thinking about it for a long time'

RALEIGH, N.C. – David Backes waited 13 seasons and 928 regular-season games for it, and now the 34-year-old Bruins forward is going to the Stanley Cup Final for the very first time in his distinguished, standout NHL career.

Certainly a chance at a Cup was part of the reason he signed a five-year contract with the Bruins in free agency, and the scenario coming to life left him with a massive grin on his face after the Cup Final-clinching win.

It also left him emotional in the moments that followed the victory as the reality set in that he was realizing one of his long-held NHL dreams. 

“I’ve thought about this moment for a long time, of playing for that ultimate prize you dream of when you’re a kid. Now it’s reality. It’s us against one other team, and one of us is going home with that Stanley Cup,” said Backes, who was then asked if this Cup Final could become a ‘Win one for Backes’ type of affair given that so many veteran B’s players already have Cup wins on their resume. "We’re concentrated on the Boston Bruins winning a Stanley Cup. With this group of brothers we’ve created here, we’re all in for our team, and whoever the opponent is, we’re gonna face them head on."

Backes wasn’t a big impact player in Boston’s 4-0 win in Game 4 over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Thursday night while clocking under 10 minutes of ice time, but he’s made a positive impact on the B’s during their playoff run. He certainly brought some physical thump to the lineup in the first round against the Maple Leafs, and the B’s won three in a row vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets after he was inserted into the lineup for the second round.

Backes scored a goal in Game 2 of the conference final against the Hurricanes, and has a solid two goals and five points in the 11 games he’s suited up for during the postseason. So the hard-nosed, hard-hitting power forward certainly played a role in the Black and Gold getting to this point in the postseason, and it’s something his teammates are appreciative of while they’d clearly love to win a Cup for him after all this time.

“It was awesome to see the passion and the emotion that he had on his face after this game,” said Brad Marchand. “He’s been such a huge part of our group. He’s such a great leader. We build so much emotion off the way that he plays, and he’s such a phenomenal guy and great teammate. He’s had an incredible career. When you see a guy that’s been around for that long and he hasn’t had an opportunity to play for a Cup, and then he finally has that opportunity? It’s a lot of emotions.

“When you play in this league for a long time, you start to appreciate and understand how hard it is to win, and how few opportunities you get to win that Cup. We have that opportunity to play for it this year and you can see how excited he was. It was awesome to see.”

The best part of all of this is still yet to be decided.

Obviously it’s a great story if Backes finally gets that Cup he’s been chasing for more than a decade, and he's going to do that against the St. Louis Blues team that he captained prior to jumping to Boston. In a Stanley Cup Final where storylines and narratives rule the day, that will be one of the best ones for the Bruins. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

John Tavares 'still bitter' about Maple Leafs' loss to Bruins in playoffs

John Tavares 'still bitter' about Maple Leafs' loss to Bruins in playoffs

Unlike a few of his Maple Leafs teammates, John Tavares hasn't gotten used to coming up just short vs. the Bruins in the playoffs.

Tavares' first season in Toronto came to an end in April after the Leafs fell to the B's in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round. The star center admitted to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com on Friday he still hasn't recovered from blowing the series lead vs. Boston.

"I'm still bitter," Tavares told Zeisberger. "We were up 3-2 in that series. We thought we were in the driver's seat and we just didn't find a way to put the nail in the coffin … to really finish them off. It's something we have to learn from."

Tavares' frustration is understandable. The Maple Leafs acquired the 28-year-old last summer to help them get over the hump, only to finish their season with the same result: a first-round exist courtesy of the Bruins.

Fortunately for Tavares, the six years remaining on his $77 million contract give him plenty of time to get his revenge.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Bruins sign Russian prospect Pavel Shen to entry-level deal

pavel_shen_russia.jpg
Getty Images

Bruins sign Russian prospect Pavel Shen to entry-level deal

The Bruins made a couple of moves in the aftermath of last month’s development camp, and another one of those dominoes fell on Tuesday when they announced the signing of Russian draft pick Pavel Shen to a three-year deal.

Shen had to terminate his KHL/MHL contract with Tolpar Ufa in order to pave the way to come to Boston this fall for both rookie camp and NHL training camp.

The three-year entry level deal goes through the 2021-22 NHL season and will pay the young forward $809,167 per season as he gives North American hockey a try after playing in the KHL over the last couple of seasons. The 19-year-old has appeared in 49 KHL games over the last two seasons with a couple of goals and three points, and tore up the Russian Junior Hockey League (MHL) with 12 goals and 27 points in 34 games over the last two years.

Shen was a seventh round pick (212th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft, and was a bright spot at this past June’s development camp in Boston showing both a playmaking flair and some pretty strong puck possession skills for a young player. The skating and goal-scoring were also pretty good, and the performance certainly merited a chance to see how good he can be at the AHL and NHL levels over the next few years.

Given Shen’s age, the transition from the KHL to North American hockey and the change in culture, it’s not expected that the 6-foot, 190-pound youngster is going to be in serious competition for a forward spot in Boston this fall. But bringing Shen over to Providence will be a better place for his development than his spot as a reserve player in the KHL over the last couple of seasons, and should accelerate the growth in a player who's got some offensive skills.

Here's what we had to say about Shen during last month’s development camp.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.