David Backes wasn’t lying when he said he’d hate his former teammates and friends on the St. Louis Blues for the duration of the Stanley Cup Final.
For the Blues, the feeling was mutual in Game 1.
Much has been made about this Cup Final series, and one of the sidebars has been Backes facing the team he captained for five seasons and now trying to stop them from winning what he tried to bring to the city that drafted him in the second round in 2003.
“There are still some good friends, one of my best friends is the captain of this team,” Backes said prior to Game 1 on Monday. “I told him I love him now and will love him after, but I’m going to hate him for the next three weeks here. That’s a mutual decision; we’re going to battle our butts off for this ultimate prize and we’ll patch up whatever needs to be patched up afterwards.”
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Alex Pietrangelo, who took over as the Blues captain when Backes left to Boston in 2016, sent a text to the latter saying that he guesses they’ll be friends again in a couple weeks.
“Like I say to everybody, we both have a job to do,” Pietrangelo said. “And we both have the same goal at the end. We’re going to go out there and do what we have to do.
Backes just straight up cut off any and all on the Blues.
“Friends on the St. Louis Blues are now cut off, officially,” Backes said during media day in Boston. “If they text me, it’s going to fall on deaf ears, and if they get a text back, it might be from my daughter and it will be very incoherent.”
It didn’t take long for the “hate” to seep out between Backes and the Blues.
Already, Backes and Jordan Binnington will need to have a heart-to-heart and Joel Edmundson may have to apologize.
Edmundson was penalized for that high stick and was none too pleased about it, shoving Backes when he was down on the ice, feeling as if Backes exaggerated it. It sure looked like Edmundson caught Backes up high with a cross-check(ish) to the face.
In another altercation, Binnginton took his opportunity to drive his elbow into the head of Backes. That one might require a little more time to heal given Backes’ history with concussions.
The series, meanwhile, is 1-0 in favor of Backes and the Bruins after a 4-2 win in Game 1 on Monday.
Blues-Bruins Game 2 is Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET from TD Garden on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck