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The Blues vs. Backes

David Backes is one of the most popular players in St. Louis Blues history. Now the former captain stands between his former team and their first Stanley Cup.

ST. LOUIS — It just had to happen this way, didn't it?

The Blues make it back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years and who do they see waiting for them with the opposition? Just their former captain who happens to be one of the most beloved players in the history of their franchise.

David Backes talks before facing Blues in Stanley Cup Final

St. Louis' love for David Backes is genuine and heartfelt.

Backes spent 10 years as a member of the Blues, serving as the team's captain for five of those seasons.

His leadership, heart and accountability made him a fan favorite, and his likability and charity work off the ice made him a Blues icon.

Now, he stands directly in the way of his former team and their first Stanley Cup championship.

The decision for Backes to leave St. Louis and head to Boston in 2016 wasn't easy for the now 35-year-old veteran, and his trips back to St. Louis to play the Blues have been emotional for him, and Blues fans.

"I'm going to try to control myself and my emotions and live in the moment and enjoy the time,"  Backes said before his first game back in 2017. "There are a few times in your career where you get special nights and tonight is going to be special, no question, coming back to a place where I spent 10 years, had a lot of special moments here, have my wife and daughter at the game, a lot of friends they'll be sitting with, and I just want to enjoy it and be in the moment and not look past it and not take anything for granted."

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Now a Bruin, Backes is looking to finally lift that Stanley Cup over his head before he retires.

It hasn't always been smooth for Backes in Boston, and he's even found himself as a healthy scratch at some times this season.

He is having a nice playoff run though, with two goals and three assists in 11 games for Boston.

There's nothing more in the world Blues fans wanted during the 10 years Backes was in town than to see him skating around the Enterprise Center with a big smile on his face and the Cup held high.

Unfortunately, they never got that chance.

Now, the Blues have to be the ones to deny him that opportunity.

There are 13 members of this 2018-2019 Blues team that are able to say they were teammates with Backes in St. Louis. Even though they likely have great respect for their former captain, you can bet they won't be pulling their punches in the Stanley Cup Final.

After the Blues beat the Sharks in Game 6, 5 On Your Side special correspondent Laila Anderson asked Backes' former teammate, Alexander Steen, about playing against him in the upcoming Final.

"It's going to be interesting," Steen said. "We haven't played against him a lot since he left, but I don't think we'll be friends out there."

Laila Anderson interviews Alex Steen after Blues win Game 6

If there's a player in hockey that truly deserves to win a Stanley Cup, it's David Backes. (No it's not Joe Thornton as all the national media seemed to believe.)

But St. Louis will have to put its admiration for their former captain on hold for the next week or so.

After all, Stanley Cup chances only seem to come around in St. Louis about once every 50 years.

Maybe the Blues can let Backes snap a picture with the cup in their locker room after the series is over.

Blues' Doug Armstrong talks after Blues advance to Stanley Cup Final