ST. LOUIS - Four days before his evolution as a leader continues in the playoffs, the captain stands in the St. Louis Blues locker room, strong and stern.
After a practice Monday at St. Louis Mills, David Backes looks at the crowd in front of his stall. Sweat drips from his left ear. He places both hands on his dark-blue shorts and fields questions about his team's first postseason berth since 2009.
Soon, Backes is asked about his growth as a first-year captain. He begins his answer with a quip "How much tape do you got on that thing?" he says before speaking about how life as the 20th man in franchise history to wear the "C" has been a process. He stares ahead and marks time with his response.
"There have definitely been stumbles and trials and tribulations," Backes says. "There have been great successes. There are definitely things that have been noted that I'll do differently next year that we'll clean up, and we'll be even better for going forward."
However, a chance to...