BOSTON (CBS) — David Backes has waited 13 years for his shot at the Stanley Cup. He’s finally getting his chance with the Boston Bruins — against his former team.
We finally learned Tuesday night that the Bruins will play the St. Louis Blues in the upcoming Stanley Cup Final, which brought some mixed emotions for Backes. He played 10 seasons in St. Louis and served as captain of the Blues for half of that tenure. He admitted to having a little trouble sleeping Tuesday night after the Blues advanced to the Final with their Game 6 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
He still loves St. Louis, but now Backes bleeds black and gold, and isn’t going to let those past emotions get in the way with his ultimate goal within his reach.
“There is going to be heightened emotions,” Backes admitted Wednesday. “I mean, it’s a binary decision now. It’s us or them. One of us is going to win the Cup. I wished those guys well up until this point, but now it’s all about us and winning this thing.”
Backes would have preferred to play any other team in his first shot at a title, but he’s OK with the reality he’s facing over the next few weeks. While he still has friends on the St. Louis roster, those friendships are being put on pause during the series.
“It would have been fine to make the Finals in different years, and each have a shot at it, maybe. But now it’s all about what’s in this room. There are still some good friends, one of my best friends is the captain of this team,” he said of St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. “I told him I love him now and will love him after, but I’m going to hate him for the next three weeks here. That’s a mutual decision; we’re going to battle our butts off for this ultimate prize and we’ll patch up whatever needs to be patched up afterwards.”
Backes has been a Bruin for three years now, and says he really only knows about half of the St. Louis roster at this point. That has lightened the emotional blow of playing his former team for a title.
“It’s a lot of familiarity, but it’s not like I left there at the trade deadline and know every guy like the back of my hand and we were having dinners earlier this season,” he said.
But he still knows quite a bit about some of St. Louis’ best players, which he hopes the Bruins can use to their advantage when the series gets underway Monday night in Boston.
“If I have info that can help us I’m going to disseminate it. But I don’t know that I have the secret sauce,” he said. “It’s going to be a battle of wills; both teams are very similar in their makeup, their style of play and their resiliency. Both have very good and hot goaltenders.
“It’s going to be an exciting series. Those guys, you don’t get to this level and this spot by accident. They have a heck of a team, we have a heck of a team and we’re going to concentrate on what we need to do to win a game in this room,” he said. “Five days from now, it’s on for keeps.”