Will Backes play? Blues' lines to be 'written in pencil'

Will Backes play? Blues' lines to be 'written in pencil'
April 23, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Nina Falcone

David Backes did not take the ice during the St. Louis Blues' morning skate on Wednesday, and head coach Ken Hitchcock would not say whether his captain would play in Game 4 against the Blackhawks.

The Blues' morning roster appeared nearly identical to Monday's lines; only Derek Roy returned to the lineup in place of Brenden Morrow, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the series with an injury.

When asked about whether those lines could role over into the game, Hitchcock wouldn't show his hand.

"I probably could be a liar, so I wouldn't evaluate our roster right now until you see it tonight," he joked. "So just be careful, put it in pencil today, not pen. I might be fooling with you all today. The only disappointing part for us is Brenden Morrow's out for the series, so he's not going to be able to play, and that impacts a lot of things. (Roy) had a very good first game, got whacked around a little in Game 2, wasn't able to play his game, so he's back healthy and ready to go here. Hopefully he can give us some jump if he's in."

[MORE: Blackhawks prepared if David Backes plays in Game 4]

It goes without saying that the Blues hope to get their captain back. But in the case that he needs more time to recuperate, they're confident they have the necessary pieces to get the job done against the Blackhawks. 

Barret Jackman said holding Chicago to a one-goal game on Monday helped reiterate that from a defensive standpoint.

"Hopefully Backes is back, but if not we have a very capable team in here," Jackman said. "We talked about it all year, it's our depth and our team play and team defense. Keeping them to a one-goal besides the empty-netter was very big for us. On the other hand you have to score goals to win, you can't be putting up goose eggs letting them carry the offensive play. We have to bear down and score some goals."

[RELATED: Kane, Toews reunite on Blackhawks' top line]

The exact timetable for Backes' return remains to be seen. But in that case that he's scratched another night, the Blues still feel good heading into Game 4. 

So until more information is known before tonight's puck drop, Hitchcock will continue to have some fun with the subject.

"(Backes is) not going to play unless he's healthy. So you never know, he could be skating in another rink, he could be doing something else," Hitchcock said, getting a laugh out of the media. "You don't know that stuff. There's a lot of rinks here in Chicago. So he could be doing other things, but he's not going in the lineup unless he's a player. If he's a player, the way he plays, he's going to have a huge impact in the series. So if he's skating somewhere else and he's in fine-tune conditioning, you'll see him tonight."