ARLINGTON, VA – David Backes of the St. Louis Blues is expected to be on the U.S. Olympic ice hockey roster for the 2014 Sochi Games, after winning silver with the Americans in Vancouver.
Which means he might, once again, prepare for that hockey tournament in his own particularly brutal manner.
So, that established: David Backes, when do you start beating up Canadians? Like, how many weeks out from the Olympics does that start?
“Obviously the conspiracy theorists will be out again on that whole deal. Whatever you guys cook up, that’s great,” he said at U.S. Olympic camp on Monday in Arlington, Va.
Please recall the early months of 2010 in the NHL, when Backes fought Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry and Rick Nash – all of whom happened to be high-profile members of the Canadian Olympic team. He earned the admiration of American hockey fans, who assumed he was sending a message to his Canadian rivals, and was given the memorable nickname “Inglorious Backes."
Backes refuses to confirm the existence of that mission, to this day.
“I like to play hard. If those guys get in my way, we’re going to have more issues. But friendly competition … we’re going to go out there and try to win games, whether it’s Americans, Canadians, Russians, Finns, Swedes … I’m trying to play hard against them.”
Yes, not even the Finns will be spared ...
Backes is now part of a veteran group of American players who form the core of the 2014 team, after having exceeded expectations in Vancouver by making the gold medal game.
“Expectations are a little higher [this time], within the group,” he said. “Those experiences will prove to be invaluable to helping us have success. Making sure you’re not ill-prepared for any challenge that we face. We’ve been in a gold medal game. We know how exciting that can be. That was a little awe-struck moment stepping on that ice. Having that experience will help us, moving forward.”
The silver medal might be a symbol of defeat for some, but Backes appreciates the accomplishment.
“That’s one of my most valuable possessions,” he said. “Do I wish it was gold? Absolutely. But we were one goal away from it being a gold medal.
“It fueled that fire even more to reach that ultimate spot."
By any means necessary ... even if he won't officially confirm those means.