When the Blues traded Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay at the deadline last season, it vacated the team’s captaincy. The Blues didn’t name an interim captain last year to play things out, but they’ll head into this season with a new leader who takes charge by force.
St. Louis named David Backes the 20th captain in team history and after his body of work with Team USA before and during the Olympics in 2010, he stands out as perhaps the best choice the Blues could’ve made. If you don’t remember, Backes went on a tear leading up to the Olympics getting rough with three different Team Canada members. Backes picking a fight with Corey Perry seemed logical enough but getting Rick Nash and Jonathan Toews to have a go earned him the nickname “Inglorious Backes.”
Was there really anyone else St. Louis could’ve gone with? No way.
The Blues also named four assistant captains in Barrett Jackman, Jamie Langenbrunner, Andy McDonald and Alex Steen. The choice of Langenbrunner might raise some eyebrows with fans from New Jersey as his team captaincy with the Devils was a point of contention. Jackman is the longest serving Blues player having been in St. Louis since his debut there in 2002.
McDonald and Steen have been two of the Blues better veteran players the last couple seasons. McDonald is a former Stanley Cup winner with the 2007 Ducks. McDonald is also the oldest of the Blues players returning from last season at 34 years-old.
With the veterans the Blues have added in Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott and Scott Nichol, many believe they’ll be contenders for a playoff spot this year as their younger players led by Backes as well as Steen, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie should all be growing into even better players than they’ve shown already. With Backes setting the example for everyone, the Blues should be a much more difficult team to deal with night in and night out.