The Olympics have not started, but David Backes is already taking it to Team Canada members.
Backes has got into scraps with members of the Canadian Olympic team the last couple of games. The St. Louis Blues and Team USA member says these coincidental fights never crossed his mind as Canadian Olympian targets. It is hard to look at it that way but truth is that the players that have stepped into the ring with Backes are all top tier players that he is just trying to get under their skin. Top tier players are the ones that make the Olympic rosters and are usually the best on their National Hockey League club. Jeremy Rutherford who writes for Stltoday.com, says that Head Coach Davis Payne is putting Backes’ line out at the same time as their opponents’ top offensive players. This would explain his recent run ins with these players. Backes is just agitating them to take them off their game so his team has a better chance of winning. He has been noticeably getting these players frustrated and taking them out of the game for five minutes.
The first fight was against Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews, Jan. 2, 2010.
Backes was simply forechecking hard with no intentions of fighting Toews, who slashed him.
The next player to drop the gloves with Backes was Anaheim Ducks sniper Corey Perry, Jan. 7, 2010. Backes mentions that the two of them have a history of getting a little rough with each other.
Tuesday Columbus Blue Jackets Captain Rick Nash fought Backes. It all began when Rick Nash was melting the clock on a delayed penalty. Backes was not a fan of these strategy and took a run at Nash, which lead to the fight.
In all of these fights Pierre Leburn, who covers the NHL for ESPN.com gives Backes the slight edge in victory. He mentions that the Nash fight was probably the closest but these guys may think twice before getting into a scrap with Backes.
Even if these fights are all ironic, it is not a bad strategy because Backes can be a good agitator for Team USA if they meet Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. If Backes can irritate these players in February and cause them to take dumb penalties, the Americans can see a lot of man advantages. According to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski, Backes has a chance at dropping the gloves with Jarome Iginla, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Dany Heatly, Dan Boyle, Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer, Roberto Luongo (which is highly unlikely since he is a goalie and would have to deal with more than just Luongo), and maybe a rematch with Nash. That would be 13 players from the Canadian roster. I do not think that is going to happen but he has a good shot at a pretty good amount of them.
I do not have anything against Canada or the Canadian players but there is nothing more pleasing than seeing them lose or getting beat up on by Americans.
Backes recent actions are starting to get noticed by many people, including the sources below.
Story from Pierre LeBrun who covers the NHL for ESPN.com
Other stories covering the topic
Yahoo Sports – Greg Wyshynski
stltoday – Jeremy Rutherford