When the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team takes to the ice for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, three St. Louis Blues players will be a part of the team. Along with Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Oshie, center/right winger and captain David Backes will be taking to the ice.
Backes has quite a history representing the United States in international play. In Sochi, it will be the fifth time he’s been a part of an international team and his second appearance in the Olympics. He’s played on IIHF World Championships team three times and was a member of the silver medal winning U.S. Olympic team back in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
In 2003, Backes was selected No. 62 overall by the Blues in the NHL Entry Draft. He then went to play for Minnesota State in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. In his third and final season at Minnesota State, he was selected to the All-WCHA Second Team and RBK Division I West All-America Second Team.
He turned pro after his third season in college and was signed to an entry level contract with St. Louis. He then left for the Peoria Rivermen, the AHL affiliate of the Blues. In 2006, he made his NHL debut and recorded his first point on an assist 44 seconds into the game. Five seasons later he was voted a team captain.
Over the course of his NHL career, he’s registered 342 points including 152 goals. He’s been a steady and true player for the Blues and his plus/minus has registered on the plus side the past four seasons, including a plus-32 in the 2010-11 season. This year, he’s registered 42 points including 20 goals.
One thing Backes brings that will really help the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team this year is his experience in international play. The rink is bigger than your average NHL rink, and he has experience playing on that surface. He’ll be able to help the younger guys who haven’t done that as much. His veteran presence will help keep the ship going in the right direction.
The 2014 Winter Olympics are upon us, and the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team has a good mix of talent, young blood and experience. When the games begin, look for David Backes to be a player helping to guide the ship to gold.