After posting three goals and five points in two games last week, Rockford’s Kyle Beach has been named the American Hockey League’s player of the week.
It’s a positive step forward for Beach, who hasn’t had many during his professional career.
At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he was a highly-touted power forward heading into the 2008 NHL Entry Draft — projected by some to be a top-five pick — but concerns about on-ice discipline (and off-ice reputation) saw him fall to 11th overall, where he was snapped up by the ‘Hawks.
After spending time WHL Spokane and Rockford, Beach appeared to have a solid chance of making the bigs in each of the last two seasons, especially given the mass exodus of Blackhawks forwards.
Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager, Adam Burish, Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer, Colin Fraser and John Madden have all left Chicago since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Despite this, the 22-year-old Beach has yet to play in a single NHL contest.
Injuries have played a role — a shoulder ailment limited him to just 19 games last year — but now he appears on track to vie for a roster spot with the ‘Hawks, whenever the season gets underway.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.