Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Backes won’t ‘hold back’ versus Blues teammates when U.S. and Canada clash


SOCHI, Russia — American forward David Backes has a deal with Canadian defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo.

“We talked before this tournament started,” Backes said Thursday, “and said, ‘When we get over there, we’re going to put our country’s colors on and play our butts off, and when we return we’ll put the St. Louis Blues’ colors back on and rekindle any relationships we need over a cold beverage, if necessary.'”

Translation: Just because we’re teammates in the NHL doesn’t mean I’m going to take it easy on you Friday when Canada and the U.S. meet in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament.

“We’re all out there representing our countries, and we’re not going to hold back because we play with a guy during the year,” said Backes.

Presumably, the rest of the NHL teammates who will be competing against each other — and there’s no shortage, with the Blues, Blackhawks, Sharks, Kings, Canucks, Rangers, Ducks, Penguins, Canadiens, and Avalanche all represented on both sides — have the same sort of arrangement, even with the health risks that come with hard, physical hockey.

“We saw a couple of injuries yesterday that you hate to see in any event,” said Backes. “Hope those guys aren’t severely injured and they can be back with their club as soon as possible.”

But, “You’re going to play hard and you’re not going to leave anything out there.”

Related: Tavares done for Olympics

Kings’ AHL affiliate gives Emery PTO

Ray Emery
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Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.

The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.

The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.

Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.

The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.

Goalie nods: Reimer makes first start of the season

James Reimer
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James Reimer will get his first start of the 2015-16 season on Saturday night against Ottawa.

Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock made it clear from the beginning that Jonathan Bernier was going to start on Wednesday against Montreal and Friday in Detroit, while Reimer would get in against the Sens.

“I’ve known this for a long time that (Bernier is) starting and he’s starting on Wednesday and he’s starting on Friday. Reims is starting on Saturday,” Babcock said before the season began.

Things haven’t gone according to plan for Toronto through two games.

Not only have they lost both contests, but Bernier was pulled in yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Red Wings, and the team has scored only one goal this season.

Reimer, who stopped 12 of 13 shots in just under 40 minutes of action against Detroit, will go up against Craig Anderson.


Cam Talbot will try to get his first win as an Oiler as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Pekka Rinne will start for the Predators.

Carey Price and Tuukka Rask will face-off when the Canadiens and Bruins renew hostilities at the TD Garden in Boston.

Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes when the Red Wings take on the ‘Canes in Carolina. Cam Ward gets the nod for the Hurricanes.

Keith Kinkaid for the Devils. Braden Holtby makes his first start of the year in the Capitals’ season opener.

Steve Mason for the Flyers. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in their opener.

-Columbus hasn’t confirmed who their starter will be in the back half of their home-and-home with the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will start for New York.

Jake Allen makes his first start of the regular season for St. Louis. Devan Dubnyk for the Wild.

-The Islanders have yet to confirm their starter for tonight’s game in Chicago. Scott Darling for the ‘Hawks after Corey Crawford helped spoil the party in Brooklyn yesterday.

Antti Niemi gets the call for Dallas after he blanked the Penguins in his first start. Semyon Varlamov for Colorado.

Jonas Hiller for Calgary. Ryan Miller for the Canucks.

-The Penguins haven’t confirmed who their starter will be in Arizona tonight. Mike Smith will likely play in back-to-back games after beating the Kings on Friday.

-The Ducks have yet to confirm their starter. Martin Jones will start for San Jose.