The Department of Player Safety is back on the job after the holiday season, and have some work to do today. The league announced that Boston Bruins forward David Backes will have a hearing today with the DoPS regarding his illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman last night. As Coleman was moving the puck out of the slot, Backes tried to deliver a clean check but appeared to catch the head of the New Jersey player. A similar play resulted in a two-game suspension recently for San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, and could lead to some more time off for Backes.
Backes was suspended just last March for three games following his hit on Frans Nielsen of the Detroit Red Wings, making him a repeat offender in the eyes of the league and open to additional punishment. The physical veteran forward hasn’t been able to add much offensively this season, but still provides some stability in the Boston bottom-six and a respected leader on the bench.
The Bruins already have to make a decision today on who to send down, given they are currently over the roster limit of 23 players. That was allowed during the holiday freeze, but not any longer. A suspension for Backes doesn’t remove him from that number, meaning the team will have to play a man down for the next few games depending on how long the ban is.