David Backes will ‘Try not to cry’ as he returns to St. Louis

The St. Louis Blues made the playoffs for 25 consecutive years leading into the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season, a run highlighted by stars from Bernie Federko to Brett Hull to Chris Pronger  to Al MacInnis in which the Blues did just about everything except – true to the Blues half-century existence – win a Stanley Cup.

Lean years followed coming out of the 2004-05 lockout however, beginning with the Blues missing the playoffs for the first time since 1979 in the 2005-06 season, eventually scoring the franchise’s first three-year playoff drought when St. Louis missed the postseason in 2008. The five Stanley Cup playoff DNQs in six seasons out of the infamous play stoppage was two more than the Blues had experienced in 37 seasons preceding the lockout.

David Backes was one of the key pieces to St. Louis returning to the NHL forefront from the abyss earlier this decade. Backes, who was drafted in the second round of the 2003 draft by the Blues, played a decade in St. Louis prior to signing a five-year deal with the Boston Bruins this past summer. He became a mainstay in the St. Louis lineup in 2006 and was named team captain in 2011. The Blues never missed the playoffs in the duration of his captaincy. A rugged, two-way forward, Backes developed into one of the NHL’s best 200-foot players during his time in St. Louis, while being a lock for 25-30 goals and around 60 points.

In his final season in St. Louis, the Blues came within two wins of its first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1970.

Tuesday night will be mark the first time Backes has played in St. Louis since departing for Boston, when Bruins visit the Blues.

“I’m going to try not to cry,” is what Backes told NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin about the return. A tribute video will be played for Backes, the team announced on Tuesday.

Over 10 seasons, Backes put up 206 goals and 460 points in 727 games. His 727 games rank fifth in Blues history while his 460 points are sixth. In addition to his play on the ice, he was did a lot of work in the St. Louis community, which makes his homecoming that much more special for the Blues, the St. Louis fans, and more importantly, Backes himself.

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