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Hitchcock, Shattenkirk discuss facing ol’ pal Backes

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Gonna be awkward, eh?

St Louis Blues v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jake Reiser caught up with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock and former BU Terrier Kevin Shattenkirk this morning, asking them what it’d be like to face former St. Louis captain David Backes tonight.

Shattenkirk on keeping his emotions in check playing Backes

“I think it’s pretty simple. I think there’s going to be no sentimental value for him. I think it’s going to be something that he’s chomping at the bit to get a chance to play us. I always like playing against old teammates, just because you have the rivalry in practice so long that you get a chance to go out and try and prove it on the ice. He was someone who battled in practice and it was fun playing against him all the time. Now it’s going to be that much more intense being on the same rink as him but on different benches.”

Shattenkirk on whether it’s different because it’s Backes

“I think so. Obviously, the stature of [Backes] in St. Louis and what he was for us as a team, it was a big change, but it’s going to be important that we push that aside, obviously, and realize that we have to treat him as just another elite player, like the Bergerons and the Krejcis, guys you have to give a lot of respect, not get caught up in the fact that you’re playing against your old captain, your old buddy.”

Hitchcock on coaching vs playing against Backes

“I think it might be different for the players. For us as coaches, after the first shift is over, he’s another player on the team. Our focus is more about that their goals against is incredible at home, Rask has had a heck of a start this season, how are we going to get to him? Even last year, as well as we’ve played, we didn’t get to him until late. I think that’s more our focus is how do we get into their defense, how do we get into the goalie. In David’s situation, that stuff is going to be much more prevalent at home than it would be here in Boston. For us, it’s another player, it’s another road game, a guy that was special but it’ll be a little different at home.”