NHL on NBCSN: Bruins’ Backes takes on Blues for the first time since leaving in free agency
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Boston Bruins host the St. Louis Blues at 7:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
You can also check out the full NBCSN hockey schedule by clicking here.
Prior to this season, David Backes had played every NHL game of his career with the St. Louis Blues, but in pro sports, things are bound to change.
That’s exactly what happened this off-season when Backes hit free agency on July 1st. He signed a long-term deal with the Boston Bruins, which put an end to his 10-year stint as a Blue.
Tonight, he’ll take on his former team for the first time since joining his new squad.
The 32-year-old played over 700 games with St. Louis and he knows almost every player on their current roster, so you can just imagine how emotional tonight’s game will be for him.
“I’m just hoping I shoot at the right goalie,” Backes said, per NHL.com.
“It’s an opportunity to play against a lot of good friends. I know probably everybody on that roster except one guy in a very close-knit way. It’s going to be emotional, but I plan to just be in the moment and soak it all in and compete my butt off and try to help my team win the game, and let the rest be written as it may.”
He’s off to an OK start in 2016-17. The veteran forward has picked up three goals and four assists in 13 games, but he has just three points in his last eight contests since returning from an elbow injury.
For those who are wondering, the Bruins travel to St. Louis on Jan. 10.
Life after Backes has been up and down for the Blues.
They’re currently riding a three-game winning streak and now sit in second place in the Central Division with a 10-6-3 record. But things haven’t always looked so good for them this year.
They suffered an 8-4 loss in Columbus earlier this month and they dropped five of their first seven games in November (2-4-1).
To be fair, Backes’ departure isn’t the only reason for their inconsistency. They also lost guys like Brian Elliott and Troy Brouwer, and they’ve dealt with a number of injuries.
The biggest issue for them is that they’ve struggled mightily on the road. The Blues are 8-1-2 at home, but just 2-5-1 away from the Scottrade Center.
“We won road games at the start of the year on last year’s energy and we’ve got to go create our own new energy,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’ve got to play better than we’ve played. We have to manage every part of our game better: our discipline, our puck play, our puck management. We’ve got to trust our work and not try to hit home runs like we’ve been doing on the road. We’ve had some great efforts, but then we’ve imploded.”