Backes Suspended Three Games, Will Miss Winter Classic

Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

David Backes has been suspended three games for an illegal hit to the head, ousting him from the lineup for the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

Backes, who is in his 13th NHL season, was given a 2-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head at 18:00 of the third period Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. The Bruins forward hit the Devils’ Blake Coleman after Coleman sent the puck out of his defensive zone.

Friday afternoon, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Backes would have a hearing for his actions. Later that evening, they announced that Backes was suspended and forced to forfeit approximately $220,000 according to his contract, which will be donated to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

According to the Department of Player Safety, Backes is a repeat offender in the league. His first and only previous suspension came in mid-March of this year when Backes hit Detroit Red Wings’ Franz Nielson on an interference penalty with a late, high hit that injured Nielson on the play. He received a three-game ban for that incident.

Per the video explaining Backes’ suspension, the league cites that while Backes uses his shoulder, Coleman’s head was the main point of contact on the hit and that it was avoidable contact.

This ends Backes’s hopes of playing in the Winter Classic on New Years’ Day, an outdoor game given to two teams selected by the League once a year. This year, the Bruins will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the historic Notre Dame Stadium. Backes came close to playing in two Winter Classics several years ago; the Bruins played in the 2016 Winter Classic against the Montreal Canadiens, when Backes was still captain of the St. Louis Blues. That offseason, when he signed with the Bruins, the Blues played in the 2017 Winter Classic against Chicago.

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Student. Writer. Dreamer. Also hockey fan. Amongst other things, I'm passionate about writing, fantasy, and hockey, so expect a lot of fantasy and a lot of hockey. But not both at once.

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