The St. Louis Blues had a mildly ridiculous pile of bodies watching the 2013-14 NHL season finale from the sidelines. David Backes was among the players that didn’t take part in the team’s 82nd game of the campaign, and there’s been some chatter about his ability (or lack thereof) to play in Game One against the Chicago Blackhawks.
There’s been nothing but good news on that front today, however. He practiced this morning, and seems geared up and ready to go for the opening game of the postseason.
Backes: “I feel good. This is playoffs. This is what we play all year for. Getting up for these games shouldn’t be at issue.” #stlblues
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) April 16, 2014
All indications point to the Blues captain being all systems go.
As expected, David Backes sounds like he is playing tomorrow. He said he felt good today. #StlBlues
— Andrew Allsman (@allsmandrew) April 16, 2014
There’s no way to overstate Backes’ importance to St. Louis in this series and in general. Ken Hitchcock uses him as a top-end defensive forward against the opposition’s top stars, and shutting down the likes of Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa will likely fall to him.
One of the interesting twists in this series is that both teams like to use their No. 1 lines in defensive roles. Will the ‘Hawks and Blues just let the lines roll of the bench? Or will the two sides jostle for a few free seconds for their snipers and finishers? The coaching battle could have just as much of an impact on the outcome of this series as they players.
Regardless, Hitch will have one of his primary forwards back during the most important time of the year. Backes is a necessary part of St. Louis’ lineup, and it’s tough to imagine St. Louis taking down Chicago without Captain America.