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|David Backes is expected to keep the 'A' on his jersey despite Tkachuk's return to the lineup (Getty Images). |
Hard work. Determination. Positive attitude. Strong locker room presence.
All of these are terms that could be used to describe David Backes
And now he has the 'A' stitched onto his jersey to prove it.
“I’m obviously honored and take it with a lot of pride that they think that highly of me,” Backes told the Belleville News Democrat recently. “They’re just kind of formalizing that I’m going to be a leader in this organization moving forward. Hopefully it turns into more positive plays for us and it’s something I can build on to make the team better.”
Veteran Keith Tkachuk previously served as an alternate captain alongside defenseman Barret Jackman
, but despite Tkachuk's return to the lineup from finger surgery, the distinction has remained with Backes.
And that's A-OK with Tkachuk.
“You don’t need a letter to be a leader, to embrace the things and do things you need to do," he recently told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I’m at the end of my career and David is an elite player on this team at this point.
"When you have done the things he has done - when you show all the leadership qualities he does in the way he conducts himself on the ice and off, he should have that distinction.”
Through 66 games this season, Backes has 15 goals and 25 assists and ranks third on the team in points.
During the 2008-09 season, Backes finished second on the team with 31 goals.
The 25-year-old forward returned recently from the 2010 Winter Olympics with a silver medal as a member of the Team USA men's hockey team.
Backes is hoping to use some of his recent Olympic experience to help the Blues.
"If we get into the playoffs, to have had the (Olympic) experience of playing in front of 18,000 crazy, screaming fans at a high level of competition, it's something that will benefit us a lot," he said.