David Backes was the star of the night in St. Louis for one final time on Wednesday.
The Anaheim Ducks forward, who spent his first 10 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, was named the No. 1 star in Anaheim’s 3-2 shootout win in what could be his final game at Enterprise Center.
Backes, who the Blues chose with the No. 62 pick of the 2003 NHL Draft then captained St. Louis from 2011-16, did not record a point and played 10:32. He said he is considering retirement after the season but has not officially announced that 2020-21 would be his last.
Still, the Blues and their fans celebrated him all night, including a standing ovation and highlight montage during the first period that left Backes emotional, even despite of his lack of scoring in it.
“I also took note in that tribute video there was only two goals of me shooting the puck into the net,” Backes said after the game. “It made me look like I was a lot tougher than I am. The guys did a good job of putting that video together.
Blues fans again honored Backes after the game, and in a moment similar to what Backes’ teammate Ryan Miller went through Friday, each St. Louis player skated to Anaheim’s end and shook Backes’ hand.
“Such a special place; special place to play; special place to live, and to play what’s probably my last game in this building, in front of these fans in this building is how I would’ve written it if I could’ve written it, and I got to live it,” Backes told Bally Sports St. Louis. “Very blessed, very appreciative.”
Then Backes’ wife Kelly and his kids Stella and Dawson addressed him on the JumboTron.
“We’ve been your No. 1 fans and supporters over the last 15 years, and my goodness what an amazing journey it has been,” Kelly Backes said. “Being able to watch you play a game that you love and use your gifts and your professional platform for good truly has been a blessing. … We love you, David.”
Blues forward David Perron, who played with Backes in St. Louis from 2007-13, congratulated Backes on a standout career and expressed his gratitude.
The moment was remarkable for Backes’ teammates and coach Dallas Eakins to watch.
“He’s a selfless individual, he’s always looking after others first,” Eakins said of Backes. “We know what he means to us, but it’s certainly amazing to see what he means to the St. Louis Blues.”
It was Backes’ 965th NHL game, and probably his last, and a moment he won’t soon forget.
“I think I’m going to remember this a lot more than a 3-2 win in a shootout,” Backes said. “It was a very memorable night for me.”