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The David Backes talks: Summer school for Blues fans

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a hopeful St. Louis Blues fan expecting the team to swiftly sign heart and soul captain David Backes quickly this offseason, put down the kool aid. It’s not happening. This isn’t a nice and easy signing like Dmitrj Jaskin or Joel Edmundson where the team has more control and the player just says, “that’s cool, I’ll sign.”

Backes is a franchise type player looking at one big deal to close out his career. He’s coming off another solid season where he wasn’t the guy or a top line forward and still produced a 20 goal season. He was a competitor for the Selke Trophy again. He’s a two way ass kicker who wants to get paid. Coming off his best postseason, the dollars will be green and it’s General Manager Doug Armstrong’s job to decide how much he should push across the table at Backes and his agent.

In an article for Hockey News, Jared Clinton quoted Armstrong as being bullish about signing Backes while noting how extended of a process this kind of negotiation might be.

“We’d like to have David back...but it has to work for both sides. We’re willing to invest a little “thank you” money but it has to make sense,” said the Blues GM.

Thank you money is interesting. It’s the team’s way of saying thank you for being a steely eyed tough note for a team that badly needed it after the Eric Brewer era. It’s the Blues saying we will pay you more than fiscally responsible in order to gracefully subside your ego. Backes is a good guy but wants to get paid.

I’ve written dueling articles about this. I’ve been back and forth like the scrambler at a city carnival. A few months back I said it’d be nearly impossible for the Blues to keep him because he is going to demand Ryan Kesler funky bunch cash and I am not sure Tom Stillman can green light that many Benjamins. After the season ended, I wrote that bringing back DMFB was prudent and had to happen. It’s not my money and my responsibility if it goes wrong so what do I have to lose?

If it goes south, I get to write about it while quietly removing tears with my whiskey stained handkerchief. I want Backes here because of what he represents to the Blues as a player and as a member of this city’s athletic core. He’s the longest tenured Blue. He’s the man who has been here since the Kitchen Shittenfest. He survived and deserves another shot to hoist the cup as a Blue.

Armie’s words in the article just remind me and others that it’s not going to be easy or quick. Backes is going to hit the market in two weeks and it’s going to be rough. Another team or two is going to offer him the world. With his gorgeous house for sale(it doesn’t get any better than Forsyth next to Forest Park folks) and his options diverse, the end of this run may not be kind.

Sure, some keyboard gangster GM’s will step up and applaud a St. Louis businessman for once again ignoring human emotion and not handing over the future of the franchise to one player. The Blues lounge will be WHITE HOT with literature. “Hey, let’s use that money and go get Stamkos but first, I’ll take a hit from this bong.” It will be ugly either way.

My stance is the same as I sit here and drink up a delicious pint of Lost Forty Brewery’s Love Honey Bock. I’d like Backes to stay but I understand the game and how it’s played on and off the ice. A cruel practice for player and suit as well as the jersey clad fans waiting around.

My advice to Blues fans on this David Backes negotiation. Take a seat. Buy more bourbon. Prepare to wait. There will be fireworks before he signs anywhere.

Take luck and talk at you again sometime soon. Or next month. Who knows?