(HockeyStL) -- The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “captain” as “the commander of a unit or a body of troops” and “one who leads or supervises.”
The St. Louis Blues would define it as David Backes.
“He’s taking charge of our team now, which is exactly what we need,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said. “There’s an edge that he plays with and sometimes the edge gets blurred at times, but I don’t really care. The edge gets blurred a few times, we’ll live with it.”
The word “blur” might be fitting for how Backes played in a 2-1 shootout victory against the Vancouver Canucks, along with “machine,” “monster” and “hell raiser.”
His stats didn’t dictate the game. It was his attitude.
It isn’t often that a player who manages to get three penalties and register zero points is named the game’s top star. But that’s how it went for Backes on Tuesday.
In 19:27 played, Backes managed to pound out six hits, including five hits in the third period, won 15 of 21 faceoffs and recorded a takeaway.
“He was a man. I think he responded really well and I think we need that leadership by example,” Brian Elliott said. “Guys don’t want to go up against him. He can play with the best of them out there. Him banging out there was great to see.”
That man was on a mission -- a mission to carry his team into the playoffs.
“He’s hungry and desperate and wants to play in the postseason and he’s dragging a lot of people with him and we had a lot of good followers today,” Hitchcock said.
Trailing 1-0 despite outshooting the Canucks 25-11 after two periods wasn’t the time to give in for Backes and his teammates. He realized there needed to be a change though.
“We got to turn the temperature up a notch because what we were doing had us down 1-0 and we wanted better,” Backes said.
The Blues managed to score a goal in the final period, their first goal in 169 minutes and 24 seconds played, to send the game into overtime before defeating Vancouver in the shootout.
The adrenaline-driven forward propelled his team through his actions on Tuesday. Sometimes it’s the actions that really do speak louder than words.
Tuesday proved that.