David Backes still can’t catch a break
It has been tough sledding so far this season for Bruins forward David Backes, to say the least.
The 13-year-veteran has managed a mere six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 26 games for the Black and Gold and has spent most of his time drifting between the third and fourth lines.
The Bruins expected Backes to assume a larger role coming into the season given the off-season departures of Riley and Rick Nash. They have yet to see a return on their $6 million investment for a multitude of reasons, especially in terms of his health.
Backes often finds himself on the receiving end of an awkward collision, untimely hit or gruesome injury. That trend continued Tuesday night during the first period of Boston’s 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden. The Minneapolis native took a skate to the face from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and immediately headed down the tunnel toward the Bruins’ locker room.
Yiiiiiikes David Backes just got cut by a skate to the face pic.twitter.com/yNHHDdMnGv
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 12, 2018
“A few stitches inside and a few outside and no worse for wear,” Backes said about his latest cut following Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “It could have been a lot worse, I think, looking at the video and knowing that there is a sharp apparatus right by my money maker, my face.”
Backes – in true hockey player fashion – battled through the pain and returned for the first shift of the second period.
“Yeah, it’s always scary when you see a teammate get a skate in the face or really anywhere,” forward Brad Marchand said following Tuesday’s win at TD Garden. “But you know he looks a little prettier now and he came back, he’s fine and good to see him back out there.”
This obviously isn’t the only scar that Backes suffered during his Boston tenure. In 2018 alone, he has had to overcome two concussions, a high stick to the face, a skate blade to the leg that required 18 stitches and Ekman-Larsson’s latest attempt — albeit unintentional — to carve up his face like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Contrary to Marchand’s comments Tuesday, Backes confirmed that his career off the ice didn’t include any glamorous off-ice photography sessions.
“That was voided shortly after birth,” Backes jokingly remarked about how his slew of injuries affected his modeling career. “I’ve been married for ten years and [my wife] still loves me. My daughter is a little bit scared of it, but I told her that I will heal in time.”
Backes’ production on the offensive end has waned over the past few seasons as the 34-year-old has entered the later stages of his career. He recorded 58 points in 2014-15 for the St. Louis Blues but has regressed with outputs of 45, 38, and 33 in each of the last three years, respectively.
The Bruins understand that Backes’ best offensive days are behind him. But they still need the big power forward to stay healthy and contribute in leadership roles both on and off the ice.