Making it to the National Hockey League is merely a dream for any young hockey player. And on the rare chance they get to meet one of their favorite hometown NHL players, it’s often a learning experience.
This summer, however, Boston Bruins veteran forward David Backes found himself on the receiving end of the learning curve when he encountered a group of 12-year-old figure skaters this summer.
After tallying a goal against New Jersey Wednesday night at TD Garden, Backes — as long-winded as he normally is — took time to discuss the experience that brought him ‘divine intervention.’
“So the whole story is I was skating with my old high school, just kind of playing shinny on one sheet. And I had a text from a friend of mine, said that her sister-in-law’s sister’s on the other rink with a bunch of little girls that would love for me to go say hi to them,” Backes said following Boston’s 2-0 win.
Backes, being the friendly guy that he is, graciously joined in on their skate. Upon joining, Backes stumbled upon a harsh reality: he knew his skating abilities weren’t nearly as good as they once were.
“They were doing a drill, so 12-year-old girls, I’m jumping in the drill with them and I couldn’t do the drill. So it was maybe the most humbled I’d ever been in my life,” Backes said. “And I went home and I said this is divine intervention, and I called that skating coach and I said ‘I need you to help me.’ And she helped me.”
“It was painful at times, I’m not going to lie,” the former St. Louis captain added. “But I think it’s translated into what I needed to have.”
Backes worked with coach Katie McDonough several times during the shortened offseason. He’s starting to see the benefits of his ‘divine intervention’ and noted its’ the best he felt “in a long, long time.”
The veteran power forward os having himself a solid preseason. On Wednesday, Backes stood out in an important game against a stingy Devils squad; skating alongside Par Lindholm and Anders Bjork. His play during Boston’s exhibition slate catapulted him as a favorite to solidify one of the final opening night roster spots.
This is what Bruins fans want to see from Backes at this point of his career. A guy that recognizes his own hockey mortality and is willing to do anything to improve.
Most players on the team took this summer easy, and rightfully so after a long postseason. But Backes took it very seriously. Af all he needed to improve in order to stay in this deep Bruins’ lineup.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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