Bruins' David Backes may face suspension for hit on Devils' Blake Coleman

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BRIGHTON -- David Backes had never been suspended in his entire 700-plus game NHL career headed into his time with the Boston Bruins, but he might be facing his second bit of supplemental discipline in as many years.

Backes will be having a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety after a hit on Blake Coleman late in Thursday night’s 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden. He was whistled for a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head after throwing a shoulder at Coleman up high late in the third period. Backes kept his elbow tucked and didn't lift it when he made the hit, but was also coming a bit from the blindside and arrived after Coleman had shot the puck out of the Jersey defensive zone.

The fact that he was suspended for three games for interference on a late, high hit on Detroit’s Frans Nielsen last year might be a factor working againsthis getting away without any supplemental discipline.

“It was all shoulder. Unfortunately there was enough contact to the head that they’re going to review it,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “Obviously [a past discipline history] doesn’t help matters when they’re reviewing [a hit], but it’s one of those things where you never really know how it’s going to play out.”  

Another factor going against Backes could be the idea that the hit on Coleman specifically was retribution for Coleman talking a run at Brad Marchand on the very first play of the game. Marchand had to leave the bench prior to the end of Thursday night’s loss to the Devils, and isn’t likely to play on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres due to an “upper body injury” after getting hit a number of times by New Jersey players.

If Backes is indeed suspended he could be in danger of missing out on next week’s Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame, and that would leave the Bruins in need of another winger for the next few games.  Perhaps it would be time to recall Notre Dame alum Anders Bjork from the AHL ahead of the return to his alma mater for next week's Winter Classic? 

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