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Ask a Player: David Backes

by Staff Writer / St. Louis Blues
In mid January, the Blues gave fans a chance to submit a question to forward David Backes. With hundreds of submitted questions, we narrowed them down and presented Backes with 10 questions that summed up what most of you were asking. His answers are below.

If you didn't get your question answered this time around, keep an eye on in the future for more "Ask A Player" features.

1. What was it like stepping onto the ice for the first time in the NHL?
- Chuck Rimmel, Litchfield, IL

David Backes: The first time for me was in Pittsburgh, an arena with a lot of history. To play against guys like Sidney Crosby and playing with Keith Tkachuk in my first game, it's one of those games where I still have to go back and watch the tape to believe that I had that experience.

2. Just when you were putting hockey on the backburner, you got called up and played great ever since. Now you’re really coming into your own as a big power forward who can score. What’s it like playing on a “Kid Line” with Lee Stempniak and Jay McClement while also getting a chance to set up on the power play with players like Paul Kariya and Brad Boyes?
- Randall Ritchey, Gray Summit, MO

DB: Well it’s the NHL, there’s a lot of good hockey players here, great hockey players. It’s the best league in the world and you get the ability to play with a couple young guys like Lee and Jay, and they’re real energetic. You kind of gel as young guys playing against guys that have been playing in the league a long time, you take that challenge head on. And then to play with guys like Paul (Kariya) and (Tkachuk) and Andy McDonald and Eric Brewer…it’s fun to play with them, listen to their advice and see how it translates to goals on the ice.

3. Is it hard keeping your hair looking so great while you play?
- Amanda, Oakville, MO

DB: My secret is…I don’t have a secret. I think it’s a God-given gift I have from my mother and father…the hair just flows.

4. What is your favorite road city?
- Chris McCann, St. Joseph, MO

DB: My favorite road city is Nashville, they’ve got the country music history there and I got to see a Vince Gill concert there. I don’t like to necessarily play the Predators, but as far as the city goes, we get there a day early and have a great time there.

5. People compare you a lot to Keith Tkachuk. Is he the kind of player that you grew up idolizing, or did that role just come natural to you?
- Justin Mueller, Mascoutah, IL

I always give him grief, I tell him he’s 16 years in the league…I tell him that when he broke into the league, I was 7. He’s definitely one of the guys I grew up idolizing, the way he plays, the way he competes every night. Being able to play on a line with him, watch him every single night, it’s an honor and it's really helped me in the learning process.

6. I hear athletes have a game day routine. Can you tell me about yours, what you like to do, what you don’t like to do, what makes you nervous?
- Janet Youse, Hannibal, MO

DB: I like my sleep. The night before, I’m in bed 10 o’clock-ish and get up at 7:30, so that’s 9 ½ hours of sleep the night before a game, then I get a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. Other than that, I try not to stick to too many rituals. I think you get too involved in it and it kinda screws with your mind.

7. As the Blues continue to compete game after game, it seems that some of the electricity is returning to the air at Scottrade Center. As a player, do you feel the excitement coming back to the crowd while playing at home? When you walk the streets and hear people talking about the Blues again, do you take pride in knowing that you’re part of that?
- Dean Sindel, Eureka, MO

DB: When the games are sold out and we’re playing well it’s a great feeling in here. It gives you the energy to go out there every single shift and perform. On the streets, in the malls, you hear people and you get noticed a little more. It’s a good job by the team to sell the team and it’s a good feeling to be out there. Even if you’re at the mall doing some shopping and you have to sign a few autographs for some kids, it’s great.

8. How was D.J. King as a roommate?
- Mark Pohlman, St. Charles, MO

DB: We had one little confrontation between the two of us and he settled it pretty quickly. After that, I just kind of did whatever he said (laughing). No, he’s a good guy. He’s a good cook, he cleans up after himself. He’s a tough guy on the ice but he’s really soft and a baby off the ice.

9. Being a full time pro now, how much do you struggle with managing your personal time vs. professional life?
- Adam Kanak, St. Peters, MO

DB: It’s tough. If I didn’t have my fiancée living with me, taking care of the house would be a struggle. She’s organized a lot of my personal time, making sure I’m not missing anything. That’s really a huge asset to have. Taking care of it all yourself is really a big task, because the job is so demanding. It’s a lot of time and when you’re not doing something at the rink, you need to be at home resting so you can perform at a high level.

10. What has been your most memorable moment as a St. Louis Blue?
- Jeff Stiebel, Cape Girardeau, MO

DB: Scoring my first goal was awesome. My first game at Scottrade Center, I’m on a line with Keith Tkachuk, he’s in front of the net screening the goalie and I just throw it on. It’s another one of those feelings where you don’t realize what you’ve done until a week later and you think ‘I scored a goal in the NHL.’ It’s something cool that a lot of kids dream about. To score a goal, it’s an awesome feat.

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