Backes was second to North Dakota's Brady Murray among
freshmen in WCHA play last season.
Statistics: Was the second-leading rookie scorer
in WCHA play last season, (behind North Dakota's Brady Murray)
notching 12 goals and 10 assists in 28 conference games; at
season's end, became the first Maverick ever named to the
league's All-Rookie team; one of only three Mavs to play in
all 39 of the injury-plagued team's games.
He Does: If this whole "playing hockey"
deal doesn't work out for Backes, he might find work as a
tough guy extra on The Sopranos. At 6-2, 200, he doesn't need
to out-hustle opponents for many look pucks, when out-muscling
them can be just as effective, and much more intimidating.
And he's not planning to rest on his first-year physical laurels.
When asked if he spent the summer skating, Backes' reply was:
"Yeah, some skating, and a lot of lifting."
Bigger Picture: When Grant Stevenson left Mankato
early last summer, the highly-touted Backes was supposed to
complement Shane Joseph and keep the Mavericks in the hunt
for the WCHA title (they had finished second the season before
Backes arrived). While Backes did indeed complement Joseph
nicely (the pair combined for 35 goals and 80 points) the
team struggled mightily, finishing just one point out of the
WCHA cellar. With Joseph gone, all eyes are on Backes to lead
a Maverick resurgence. An appearance by the sophomore jinx
in Backes' locker room stall, and it could be a long cold
winter for hockey fans in southern Minnesota.
to Backes: "I use all of the tools I have. I
can feed a pass across the ice to a teammate if the situation
calls for that, but I’m always willing to lower the
shoulder and go through a guy if I need to."