Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson,

Bruins forward David Backes has been smacked with a three-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Devils forward Blake Coleman on Thursday night, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Friday night.

“As Coleman releases the puck, Backes delivers a shoulder to the head of Coleman, making the head the main point of contact and knocking him to the ice,” the NHL began in their video explanation. “This is an illegal check to the head.

“While Backes does graze Coleman’s shoulder on his way to making contact with Coleman’s head, the brunt of the impact on this head is delivered to Coleman’s head.”

The Department of Player Safety also mentioned the fact that they believe the hit was avoidable on the part of Backes.

“If Backes wishes to deliver this check, he must take an angle of approach that hits through Coleman’s shoulder and core,” the video explained. “Instead, Backes takes an angle of approach that cuts in front of Coleman’s core, picking his head and making it the main point of contact.”

This is the second time in the calendar year that the veteran Backes has been suspended, the first of which came back in Mar. 2018 after a hit on the Red Wings’ Frans Nielsen, which came with Backes saying that he didn’t plan on reinventing who he is as a player given the ‘stand-up’ nature of his style.

“I’m gonna keep playing my style. I’ve been able to do it cleanly, effectively, hard-nosed, stand up,” Backes said in March. “I think we’re getting away from policing ourselves. The next guy [on the Red Wings] that asked me to fight from their team — big character — I oblige and answer the bell, and that used to account for something, too.”

This latest suspension will indeed put Backes on the shelf for the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium.

A repeat offender, Backes will also forfeit over $200,000 in salary.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.