Kyle Beach being announced Nov 30th’s 1st star of the game
photo credit: Rockford IceHogs, Greg Hamil
By Chris Block
After being sat out four consecutive Rockford IceHogs games due to what head coach Ted Dent called “conduct” violations, Chicago Blackhawks 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach returned to the lineup on Saturday night in grand fashion.
Not only did Beach register the first hat-trick of his 175-game professional career, but he also contributed in every special teams situation in leading the IceHogs to a much-needed 4-3 victory over their rival Chicago Wolves after Rockford suffered a 7-1 shellacking in Rosemont the previous night.
Following Saturday night’s game, we had an opportunity to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the often beleaguered former 1st round draft pick.
The past five months have been a whirlwind for Beach. He, by his own admission, surprisingly was tendered a contract offer this past summer by the Blackhawks. Then, in August, he continued to get himself into the best physical condition of his career by traveling (unplanned and on his own dollar) to Sweden for a week of unofficial workouts with other Blackhawks prospects and Swedish league players. Upon returning to Chicago, Beach was quickly cut from Chicago’s camp and returned to Rockford. He then got engaged to his girlfriend in Chicago just before getting the news that the Hawks would be loaning Beach to a team in the Swedish Hockey League.
Officially, that loan was a 3-week tryout agreement. But, both the Blackhawks and Beach expected that he’d play out the entire season in Sweden. Perhaps he’d return to Rockford in March after the SHL season ended, but it was thought there was little chance he would be flying back to America once that tryout deal expired.
But he did, and now here he is. A pro in his fourth full season, the clock has been ticking on Beach for some time now.
Prior to Saturday night, Beach had been a healthy scratch for 8 of the 13 games he’s been available to the IceHogs since returning from Sweden.
There will come a time soon when the Blackhawks should make a final decision on Beach’s future. And they may have indeed already of drawn and framed that conclusion. Still, until that plays itself out, Beach is an IceHog.
To watch Beach skate on Saturday night you get the sense he’s mindful that he is not only playing in the now for himself and the success of his team, but also his professional future. Whether he can sustain what he put forth at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford on Saturday – time will tell.
Before listening to our interview with Beach, I would suggest you first check out Rockford IceHogs head coach Ted Dent’s post-game media scrum from Saturday night.
Dent speaks somewhat candidly about why he designated Beach a healthy scratch in the four games prior to Saturday night’s 4-3 win over the Wolves. Beach was even left at home two weekend’s back when the team played back-to-back games in Charlotte. I also asked Dent whether or not he feels Kyle has finally turned a corner with the on and off-ice code of conduct issues that have kept Beach out of the lineup of late. Beyond the Beach discussion, listen to Dent explain why he removed Theo Peckham and Wade Brookbank from the ice and bench during Friday night’s game in Rosemont as well as some thoughts on Phillip Danault and Kent Simpson’s play over the weekend.
Listen to Dent’s post game press conference below or download it here.
Now, hear our conversation with Saturday’s IceHogs hero, Kyle Beach.
The first three minutes is recorded immediately after the IceHogs victory on Saturday. Following that is our exclusive 10-minute chat with Beach. He gives his account of how he came to re-sign with the Blackhawks this past off season, his thoughts on how his training camp with the Blackhawks unfolded, how he felt when exiting his exit interview with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville after being cut from training camp in September, as well as how the whole loan to the HV 71 team in Sweden came about. Finally, Kyle answers whether or not he feels a change of scenery would be good for his career at this point.
Listen to our exclusive chat with Kyle Beach below or download it as MP3.
We’ll have much more on Kyle Beach, how all this has unfolded, his current situation and future with the Blackhawks organization both here on the web site and in Tuesday’s Committed Indian game program online and at the United Center.
I would like to note, and you’ll hear it in the audio, that the second part of our discussion with Beach was cut short before we had a chance to address the interview Beach did in Sweden that I wrote about here and in The Committed Indian in October. Beach was unhappy about some things that were written in that piece. And he had previously declined to speak with me through an IceHogs spokesperson. Thus, Saturday night was my first opportunity to speak with Kyle since he’s been back from that stint overseas. So, hopefully we’ll get chance sometime this month to pick up this discussion. The great thing about talking to Kyle is he gives long, thoughtful responses. Not many guys will do that. The downside of this is sometimes ten minutes go by and you realize you’ve asked him five questions.