The spotlight has been bright on Blues forward Alexander Steen these past many weeks, as well it might.

What has been taking place in the big shadow Steen is casting has been equally impressive. David Backes, noted in his career for slow starts, has 11 goals and 24 points after scoring a goal and assist at Colorado on Wednesday. It is easily the best beginning Backes has enjoyed.

In 2008-09, when he finished with 31 goals, Backes had three goals and seven points on Nov. 29.

In 2010-11, when he finished with 31 goals and 62 points, he had three goals and 13 points on Nov. 29.

No two seasons are created equally. Checks and balances come with each. But at age 29, Backes never has been more checked and balanced, off the ice and on.

“He’s a very well-rounded player,” veteran Colorado defenseman Cory Sarich said. “I’ve always liked his game, just the way he goes about things. He’s not an arrogant guy. He plays within himself, but you can see he has that drive. He’s not an easy forward to play against.

“He’s good in both ends of the rink and with his size, he’s exactly want you want. He’s a pretty good prototype.”

Time passes quickly. Backes now is in his eighth season in St. Louis, fully evolved from a hard-nosed young winger to No. 1 center and respected captain.

“He’s the only captain I’ve had, so I don’t have anyone to compare him with,” said Blues 24-year-old defenseman Ian Cole. “But I can’t imagine someone being better in that way. Some guys are kind of really intense or carrying themselves in a way that they’re on like a different level than other guys.

“He’s not like that. He’s very down to earth. He’s very intense on the ice, but he also can relate to anyone and what anyone might be going through. I don’t have anything but great things to say about him.”

From a personal standpoint, Backes went through some things last season. He bore the brunt of the NHL lockout responsibilities for his teammates. And after the nine-month hiatus, after scoring 31 and 24 goals respectively in two previous seasons, he had six in 48 games.