Sports & Recreation

Best Blues Player 

David Backes

Right winger David Backes is listed at six-foot-three, 225 pounds in the Blues players' guide, which seems impossible — he has to be at least seven feet tall and weigh 340 pounds, all of it whalebone, steel and guts. A hard-checking, hard-skating, hardheaded player with soft hands, Backes makes his money the old-fashioned way: He goes into the corners and elbows chumps off the puck; he stands in front of opposing goalies while Erik Johnson's slap shots whistle past him; and he cleans, fieldstrips and resets unwary forwards' clocks with legal 'n' brutal hits. And when all else fails, he'll drop the gloves and demolish you. Backes is the type of player who inspires diehard fans to make their own T-shirts honoring his bloody commitment to the world's finest sport, as Nicholas Maggio did with his "Inglorious Backes" design in the run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Most Blues fans would like to see him with a "C" on his sweater this year, and Barclay Plager willing, it'll happen sooner rather than later. For now, he'll just have to settle for being the best all-around player on the team.

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