By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- New contract: done. Stability: done. Most players would become content with gaining security and maybe level off in their performance. Not David Backes, who thrived after signing a new five-year contract in November. See what this captain material has to say about the past, present and future for the Blues:
What can you take away from the season that just ended?
There's lessons learned there. Obviously a few injuries put another damper on it, but we need to learn how to play with those injuries, to patch those holes, simplify our game and make sure we're doing all the little things that win games.
How sad is it when you have to clean the lockers out sooner than you'd like?
It's never a fun day to have the year-end meetings while there's 16 teams still playing. Next year, we're going to do plenty to become one of those 16 teams, then the eight, then the four, then hopefully the two and the last one standing. It's a bitter taste in our mouth right now, but we've got to use that as motivation to have good summers and make sure we come back next year ready to rock.
What's your take on the ownership situation and how does it translate to the players?
It would obviously be great to have some stability in that sense, but that really doesn't translate directly into this room ... when the ownership gets figured out, the management, and the coaching staff are in place and we'll be fine. Maybe they can spend more money on a few players and we can bolster our roster that way. But other than that, it's insignificant to what happens in this room.
Are you going to miss the locker room as it is because more than likely, it won't be the same?
It's the reality of the business. There's going to be guys that are in this room at the end of the season that aren't going to be back. There's going to be some new faces that hopefully are contributing to our lineup right away. With the moves that have been made so far, you see this team move in the right direction and you expect more great moves by the management to help us in here. And then we need to perform once we're in here.
What moves can Doug Armstrong make to bolster this squad?
(Joking) I'm not going to do the GM job for him. ... I'm certain there's a plan that he's evaluated for the entire season. He sees a few deficiencies. We can always improve at forward, defense, goaltending was pretty solid this year. ... We'll see what happens when we get our 23 guys on the roster at the beginning of next year. We'll need a tight-knit group that comes out of the gates fast and is able to sustain that the whole season.
Since the kids getting older theme is what you guys banked on here in recent seasons, is it finally time to take that next step since everyone is getting older and more experienced now?
It seems like there's a curveball thrown at us every year. We had three years where maybe the kid thing or the inexperience was kind of what we rested on, and then this year, there was a lot of resting on the injuries. Eventually you're going to have to say we've learned all our lessons and it's time to get the job done. I think there's no more excuses. It's time to get to work next year. I don't know what other curveball can be thrown at us. We've learned the lesson when there's injuries. We've got to patch the holes and make sure that everyone's doing a little bit more. When there's no more young guys or if there (are) young guys, you've got to make them feel comfortable so they can contribute right away.
What does your summer entail?
Rest and relaxing. Hopefully, have my line in the water fishing a lot, but there's plenty of work to be done in the weight room making sure that (next) season gets off to a good start the way it did this year.