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.”

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