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NHL suspends Bruins’ David Backes three games

The Boston Bruins managed to beat the Detroit Red Wings in a messy, exciting 6-5 overtime game despite missing quite a few players due to injuries. Now they’ll be without another player, but this time due to a suspension.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety handed David Backes a three-game suspension for a “late, high hit” on Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen. Nielsen left the contest thanks to the hit, which drew a roughing penalty late in the first period.

There’s footage of the check above this post’s headline, while the official video below features an explanation from the league:

The NHL notes that the hit included “significant” head contact and happened well after Nielsen released the puck. It was noted that Backes “contorted” his body to try to minimize the impact.

While Nielsen’s injury hurt Backes’ cause, his history seemed to help. Despite being a physical player - and a widely loathed one at times, particularly during his days with the St. Louis Blues - Backes has avoided supplemental discipline in the past. He did get ejected for head-butting in January.

This has been an eventual season both for the Bruins and for Backes. Boston’s dealt with a number of injuries and suspensions, only to remain one of the surprise success stories of the NHL. To some degree, it’s impressive that Backes is already back in the rhythm of the season considering the serious medical procedure he underwent earlier in 2017-18.

The 33-year-old has 11 goals and 27 points in 47 points so far this season. Backes is eligible to return during the Bruins’ March 13 road game against the Hurricanes.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.