David Backes broke into the NHL in 2006. In 2019, he will get his first chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final.
Backes has been understandably emotional about making it to the Final, and his teammates have had nothing but good things to say about the veteran's performance during the playoffs.
"It's awesome to see the passion and emotion that he had on his face after (Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final)," said Brad Marchand per Eric Russo of BostonBruins.com. "He's been such a huge part of our group. He's such a great leader and we build so much emotion off the way that he plays. He's just such a phenomenal guy, great teammate, and he's had an incredible career.
"When you see a guy that's been around that long, he has an opportunity to play for a Cup, finally has that opportunity, it's a lot of emotion. [Patrice Bergeron] said it before. When you play in this league for a long time, you start to appreciate and understand how hard it is to win and how few opportunities you get to win the Cup."
And Marchand and Bergeron would know about that. After playing for the Cup in 2011 and 2013, the duo hadn't been back to the Final until this point. But their six-year absence pales in comparison to Backes' lack of an appearance until his 13th year in the league.
To his credit, Backes has been nothing but a model teammate this year. He struggled to a career-low 20 points in 70 regular season games and was constantly moving around in Bruce Cassidy's line combinations. But he embraced the challenge and stayed ready for action at any time, especially in the playoffs.
This postseason, Backes has logged five points in 11 games and helped the Bruins to a 9-2 record in contests he has played. The team is 3-3 without him, and it has been easy to see that the Bruins are better and more poised with the veteran in the lineup.
Oddly enough, Backes may end up play against his former team, the St. Louis Blues, in his first Stanley Cup appearance. But Backes was adamant that playing the Blues wouldn't have an impact on him.
"Wishing St. Louis well, but once our opponent is picked those well wishes will be rescinded and it's on," said Backes, per Russo. "We'll see who it is and we'll be prepared for it."
It sounds like Backes is planning on bringing emotion to the ice to continue motivating his Bruins teammates. We'll soon get to see him in action.
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will take place on Monday, May 27 at 8:00 p.m. The game can be seen on NBC and streamed on the NBC Sports App.
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