Backes to Fulfill Childhood Dream

David Backes will represent the Blues in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game

Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 9:30 AM CT / 2012 All-Star Game
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Backes to Fulfill Childhood Dream
With a freshly signed five-year contract that kicks in next season, it's a safe bet David Backes won't be needing to update his resume anytime soon.

But if he did, it might look pretty impressive these days.

It could start with last January when he was named to the Team USA Men's Ice Hockey Team at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In February, he was presented with a Silver Medal as a member of that team.

In March, an "A" was stitched onto his Blues jersey, officially designating him as a leader of a young hockey club at the age of 25.

And through 41 games this season, Backes leads the Blues in scoring with 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) and has a plus-minus rating of +13.

Finally, on Tuesday, he got one more bullet point to add: he'll represent the Blues in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, which will be held Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Yes, the game has been pretty good to him lately, and Backes will be the first to admit it.

"It hasn't sunk in that I've been chosen," he said shortly after learning from Blues General Manger Doug Armstrong that he had been selected to play in this year's NHL All-Star showcase. "It's a dream come true, obviously."

There's an easy road to the All-Star Game: one that includes pure skill, soft hands and a knack for lighting the lamp with highlight-reel goals and jaw-dropping dekes. But Backes didn't take that route. For him, the road was paved through hard work, dedication, physical play and leadership that make him an invaluable part of his hockey club.

"I watch the other guys show their skills," he said. "I hope I have one-tenth of the skills some of the guys I'll be playing with have."

While he might not bring the flashy element to his year's game, he's still just as deserving as the Sidney Crosbys and Alex Ovechkins of the League. He lets his actions off the ice speak just as loudly as his tenacious play on it. After a good win, he's available to the media for interviews. After a bad loss, he's still there for interviews, often explaining what went wrong and how the team won't make the same mistake twice. It's a quality that's hard to find in such a young player.

"I think he understands there's lots of ways he can contribute to our team's success," Blues Coach Davis Payne said last week. "On each given night something different is required. Is it the big hit? Is it the key goal? Is it a timely penalty kill? I think he understands that and he's comfortable providing anything.

"He's controlling the play. He's done his job defensively. He's chipped in and made some plays and scored some big goals, and then when the game gets into a situation where one play makes the difference, he's out there making it for us."

A difference maker.

There couldn't be a more perfect description of David Backes.

The 26-year old native of Minneapolis, MN is smart enough to model his game after players he's idolized, like recently-retired forward Keith Tkachuk, who appeared in five NHL All-Star Games and was a difference maker on the ice by scoring 538 goals the same way Backes does: through physical play, hard work and determination. It's not flashy, but it gets the job done nonetheless.

"He's been a huge influence as far as being professional and teaching me the game and how to put work in so nobody outworks you," Backes said of Tkachuk, who gave him a place to live when he entered the League as a rookie during the 2006-07 season. "(He taught me) how to live the game 24 hours a day. He's been a huge influence. He played hard every night and I try to emulate that."

This year's All-Star Game features a new format, one that ignores the Western vs. Eastern Conference of seasons past. Instead, the 42 All-Stars will vote on two team captains, who will then hold a fantasy draft to select their teams with no regard to conference. The fantasy draft will be televised live on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. on VERSUS. The Honda NHL SuperSkills (Jan. 29 at 6 p.m.) and the 2011 NHL All-Star Game (Jan. 30 at 3 p.m.) will round out the weekend.

And while Backes will certainly take the time to enjoy the moment and bask in the spotlight, his main focus is still with the Blues while he tries to lead them back to the postseason.

"I'd like more wins and a home playoff series. I'd erase all these other things and take that instead," he said. "We'll keep working our butts off and try to make that happen."




1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54


V. Tarasenko 74 35 35 29 70
A. Steen 72 24 38 6 62
J. Schwartz 67 24 31 16 55
D. Backes 73 25 29 7 54
T. Oshie 66 19 32 13 51
P. Stastny 66 14 29 6 43
A. Pietrangelo 74 6 35 -2 41
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
J. Lehtera 67 11 28 19 39
P. Berglund 69 8 12 -6 20
B. Elliott 24 12 3 .921 2.16
J. Allen 19 6 4 .906 2.45

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