How Cassidy Tried to Revive David Backes

The Boston Bruins have finished their five-game road trip and it was a very successful one for sure. The Bruins, rather unexpectedly, earned nine of 10 available points. Their seven-game win streak was snapped on Saturday in St. Louis when the Blues, who beat Boston in the sixth round of the shutout. It was a very special game for one man: David Backes.

Before signing with Boston in 2016 via free agency, Backes had played his whole 10-year career with the Blues. He has served as the Blues captain from 2011-2016. His role with the Bruins has changed dramatically ever since then. Over the course of this season, the 34-year-old forward has just 14 points through 50 games played, while just seven have come at even-strength. Backes snapped an eight-game point skid with an assist against the Sharks past Monday.

One would say this isn’t ideal for a forward who is signed until the 2020-2021 season with a salary cap hit of $6,000,000 per year. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy decided to sit down with David Backes and analyze a forward´s situation.

“I don’t want to get into specifics just because it was a man-to-man conversation and it was one-on-one for a reason,” Backes said according to The Athletic. “Either have a cup of coffee or a beer, just something away from the rink where we can just talk like people and kind of go through where we thought he was at,” explained Cassidy, who sought a conversation with Backes for quite some time now.

“I give him tons of credit for doing that, and it helped me clear my mind and get some stuff off my chest. He was able to clarify some stuff for me,” stated Backes. In his very next game, Backes responded with a shootout winner against the Vegas Golden Knights. Backes said, that he felt very well in that game. The conversation with Bruce Cassidy certainly helped him.

On Saturday night, the Bruins visited the Blues, former team captained by David Backes. Minnesota native played a solid game again, totaling five shots on goal in 13:20 minutes of the ice-time. However, he wasn’t able to bury one in as he had Jordan Binnington close to surrender many times. Neither of his chances materialized, Backes even got a nod in the shootout again – this time without success.

David Backes praised his coach for doing such a thing as both talked down the issues. In other words, Bruce Cassidy tries to do everything in order to get production from his 6-million forward going. It seemed like a late wake-up call, which partially helped. But it’s unknown whether will aging veteran ever be able to fully respond.

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