Blues Name Backes as Captain
In an announcement that should be overwhelmingly well received by fans, the St. Louis Blues have named David Backes as the new captain of the organization. Backes will take over the role vacated by Eric Brewer when he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning late last season. Backes will be the 20th captain in the team’s history, as reported by Jeremy Rutherford. The assistant captains this year will be Barret Jackman, Alex Steen, Jamie Langenbrunner and Andy McDonald.
Despite some speculation that the Blues would decide to use a group of assistants rather than a lone captain, David Backes has always been the favorite to take over the position once Brewer left. Even while Brewer was still with the organization, Backes often appeared to be the true leader out on the ice and seemed destined to formally be made the captain heading into 2011-12.
What makes David Backes an outstanding selection as captain? The intangibles.
Anyone can look up his statistics and rattle off how effective he has been for this team’s offense. Those statistics only tell a small part of the story.
Where Backes excels are in situations and areas that statistics don’t track. There isn’t a “hard work” statistic, but if there was, Backes would find his name among the league leaders. He goes into the gritty areas of the ice and battles for the puck. He can throw crushing checks which in turn creates chaos for the opposition and usually scoring chances for the Blues. He knows how fight, and more importantly, when to fight – ask Team Canada. He embodies what each member of the St. Louis Blues should strive to be – a competitor.
Often during the 2010-11 season we saw the St. Louis roster seem to take shifts and even entire games off. Lackluster, inconsistent play ruled the day. The same generalization doesn’t apply to the new captain, however. During games where the Blues looked flat and uninspired, Backes continued to do what he does best and that’s cause commotion while always giving 100%.
Overall, there really wasn’t much of a debate as to why Backes shouldn’t be the next captain of the Blues. He’s been the clear choice for a while now, dating back deep into Brewer’s reign. Thanks to his fights against members of Team Canada prior to the Olympics, Backes earned himself a fairly clever nickname, Inglorious Backes, which now could be adjusted to Captain Inglorious Backes. Move over Guardian Project, the Blues already have their superhero.
Now Backes will look to lead a team that has been infused with veteran leadership over the summer to go along with a wealth of young talent. Assistant captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott should be able to lend priceless advice to Backes as he officially takes the reigns as this team’s leader.
The assistants (Jackman, Steen, Langenbrunner and McDonald) are solid selections to back Backes and offer experience both from within the St. Louis organization and from around the NHL. Langenbrunner is perhaps the most notable name here as he is preparing to skate in his first season in St. Louis following long stints with the Dallas Stars and the New Jersey Devils. Previously, Langenbrunner served as captain of the Devils as well as captain of Team USA and should be able to provide plenty of insight for the newly appointed Backes.