When Backes was in St. Louis, he was loved by the fans. He was often referred to as the heart of the team because he constantly put his body on the line to stand up for his teammates and to do everything he could to win.
The problem is—his heart no longer beats for the St. Louis Blues and that is what Blues fans have a hard time getting past nowadays. But, it would be unprofessional if he showed his love for the Blues when he was playing against them the same way it would be if any former Blues player did that. So, why do some Blues fans still harbor resentment toward Backes but welcome back other former Blues players with open arms?
Should Blues Fans Hate David Backes?
Watching their current team go up against their former beloved captain in the Stanley Cup Final with a team they hate was painful for Blues fans to watch, even though the Blues came out on top.
In fact, Blues fans only had to endure watching their team go up against David Backes in four games. Most importantly, Backes was a healthy scratch for the Boston Bruins in Game 7. He only played in 15 of the team’s 24 playoff games. The Bruins were 11-3-1 with Backes in the lineup in those 15 games. In an average of 9:44 of ice time per game, he had five points. The deciding factor for him sitting out, at least for the Stanley Cup Final, could have been that the Bruins lost Game 4 with Backes in the lineup seeing as he did not play in another game that series after that.
For a guy with as much heart as Backes, it is easy to imagine how disappointed he was that he did not get a chance to play in more playoff games, but especially not to get to go up against his former club.
But a lot of Blues fans did not feel bad for him missing out on the action. If he would have stayed in St. Louis, he could have been there. But he didn’t and because of that, the Blues had more cap space to go out and sign the players that won them the Cup. Some Blues fans were grateful that he left because of that.
He is not the same player he used to be. That was proved this season. A lot of that has to do with his age. He can’t hit as often or as hard as he used to and he’s getting way less ice time, which means he’s producing less as well. He was slowly approaching the end of his career during his time with the Blues. The Blues saw that and refused to pay him $30 million over five years.
The 36-year-old was traded to the Ducks in February with Axel Andersson and Boston’s first round pick in 2020 NHL Draft for Anaheim’s Ondrej Kase. This came after David Backes was put on waivers and cleared in January. He did not report to the Bruins’ American Hockey League affiliate even though he was healthy.
In 22 games with both the Bruins and the Ducks, Backes had six points. He averaged 9:24 of ice time per game.
It was almost as if the fewer minutes Backes got, the less sympathy he had with Blues fans. There was something about seeing Backes in black and gold that didn’t sit right with them. Blues fans got what they always really wanted—the Stanley Cup—so what did Backes matter anymore?
With the Blues
In his 10 seasons with the Blues, he had 206 goals and 254 assists for 460 points in 727 games. David Backes averaged 18:15 minutes of ice time per game. In 49 playoff games with the Blues, he had 27 points and averaged 19:59 of ice time per game. He helped lead the Blues to the Western Conference Final for the first time in 15 years. He was the face and heart of the franchise for years. No current player at the time wanted to bring the Cup to St. Louis more than Backes.
It is not fair to replace all the great things he did with the Blues with thoughts of the plethora of illegal hits he’s had since. Why? He was not always a clean player as a member of the Blues and fans chose to love him anyway. It isn’t fair to say that he played with heart as a member of the Blues, but that he was a despicable player for Boston when he was doing the exact same things, just with a team Blues fans do not like.
Backes’ career is almost over. Blues fans can either choose to remember him for the heart that he brought to the team for 10 years or they can choose to get mad at him for the way he put up a fight after he left. The choice is yours. Just don’t forget how loudly you cheered for him in the Blue Note when he pummeled players into the boards.