He’s a trash talker, a goon, a power forward, a problem child, and an injury risk. “He’s nasty. Just plain nasty,” one particular scout said of Kyle Beach when asked to describe the young winger in one word. Kyle Beach was called many things during draft week in Ottawa but now can be described as a Chicago Blackhawk. The week of explain himself is over and now it is time to get down to business to either succeed or fail as an NHL first round pick.
It was an impressive pick by General Manger Dale Tallon, who is often criticized for making safe picks on draft day. The Blackhawks took a huge risk on the 18-year-old power forward from the Everett Silvertips but feel the reward is high. Beach was regarded as one of the most skilled and tough players in the draft and as recently as last year he was ranked in the top five. Talent and toughness were not the reasons he dropped out of the top ten. Controversy was. The young Beach has accumulated a laundry list of infractions both on and off the ice.
Off-ice incidents and concussion problems were two of the biggest concerns for the young winger going into the draft. So much of these issues plagued him that the Canadian Junior team wouldn’t go near Beach during their selection process. All of those events seem to be in the past according to Blackhawks management and Beach himself. Beach has felt no adverse effects from his concussions and the off ice issues were minor and no charges were filed.
There is no denying that when Beach is focused on his game he is a destructive force. He recorded 60 points and 222 penalty minutes in 60 games last year. His production dropped off in the second half of the season, but the reason for that turned out to be a sports hernia that Beach has since recovered from. The key is keeping him focused on playing his game and not going over the edge.
He has been compared to Claude Lemieux and Owen Nolan, but I see more of a young Mark Messier in him. Messier was young and brash when he first came into the league. He became the premier power forward in the game, but always played right on the edge of chaos early on. I see signs of that in Beach, and I believe so does Dale Tallon.
Messier’s toughness was the perfect complement to Gretzky’s finesse game, and I can see Beach being that player for Patrick Kane. Much will fall on Chicago’s leadership and coaching staff. Jonathan Toews will likely be the captain next season, and he will have to keep Beach’s wild side in check if Beach makes the team out of training camp. From the sound of it, head coach Denis Savard and Tallon will give him every opportunity to do so.
Legendary Bowman a Perfect Fit for Blackhawks
NHL legend Scotty Bowman could be headed to the Windy City to become the new Head of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks. Although he denied the rumor late yesterday the move is not as far-fetched as it sounds.
Bowman is connected to the Blackhawks organization via his son Stan Bowman who serves as an Assistant General Manager. According to sources, he had been seen spending time at the United Center last season while visiting Stan and his grandchildren. General Manager Dale Tallon would appear to be safe and he and his staff would work closely with Bowman on all hockey decisions.
The move makes perfect sense for a Blackhawks organization looking to improve the on-ice product in Chicago.
There is no greater hockey mind available in the game today and the 74 year old Bowman , with his nine Stanley Cup rings, would bring credibility to a franchise that has had trouble attracting high end free agents over the last 10 years. Allowing Bowman to oversee all hockey operations a week away from the July 1st free agent period sends a strong message to potential free agents that this organization is serious about winning a Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks are expected to be extremely active in the free agent market, winger Marian Hossa and blueliner Brian Campbell are their top two targets.