LYNNWOOD – He may be in just his 12th day as a full-time Everett Silvertip.
He may be the youngest player on the roster, just four months into his 16th year.
He may be positioned on Everett’s fourth line, thereby receiving a limited amount of playing time.
But things happen when Kyle Beach is on the ice.
Good things. Bad things. Things previously unseen in Everett.
Beach brings a certain attitude never before seen from a Silvertip, and that makes Beach must-see viewing whenever he hops onto the ice.
“I really enjoy playing with him,” said Zack Dailey, who broke into a big grin when discussing his newest teammate. “He brings physical play to the game, he can score goals, he gets in people’s faces. He’s a great player.”
Said Beach: “I’m just doing what I can to rattle the other team’s top guys because if they’re thinking about me, they’re not thinking about playing.”
Beach’s arrival was greeted with much relish – Everett’s fans already enthusiastically acknowledge Beach whenever his name is announced over the sound system – as well as a tad bit of apprehension.
Everyone knew Beach had ability. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound forward not only was Everett’s first-round pick in the 2005 Bantam Draft, at one point he was a strong contender to be taken first overall because of his size and ability to put the puck in the net.
Everyone knew Beach had attitude. Along with his gaudy goal numbers, Beach also had gigantic penalty-minute totals and numerous suspensions on his blotter. Questions about his attitude were one of the reasons he fell to 10th overall in the draft.
But no one could have known the immediate impact he’d have, both in terms of production and agitation.
“He’s got good size and good hands, so he’s got the capability of doing something good with the puck,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “He’s more than willing to get his nose dirty and get involved, so there’s always a chance he’s going to be involved in the physical part of the game. He’s willing to battle, and that’s a great thing in hockey. I just hope he keeps working and keeps disciplined.”
Since his midget season finally came to an end two weekends ago, allowing him to join the team for Game 3 of Everett’s second-round playoff series against Kelowna, Beach has made his presence felt in a big way. Beach had a goal and two assists in four games against Kelowna, even though he won’t be a rookie until next season. He scored a crucial goal in Game 4 against Kelowna, sparking Everett’s comeback from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2. Even when he’s not involved in the play it seems the puck finds its way into one of the nets when he’s on the ice, usually the opponents’.
“It’s been nice getting the points,” Beach said. “But full credit to my linemates (Dailey and Damir Alic) who I’ve been playing with. They’ve made it easy for me, they’re the ones setting me up.”
But Beach is even more noticable when he’s being the agitator. A prodigous trash talker, Beach has a knack for getting under opponents’ skin. In Everett’s 2-0 victory over Kelowna in Game 3, he got into the Rockets’ heads to such a degree that they were more concerned with beating the snot out of Beach rather than winning the game. His agitation prompted the Rockets into taking several penalties.
“I think he was really in some of those guys’ heads,” Dailey said. “He’s really good at getting under people’s skin. That’s what you’ve got to do with some of those guys.”
Beach explained: “I just don’t show them any respect. Coming in as a just-turned-16 underage player, the 18-, 19- and 20-year-old players want respect, and I’m just not showing it to them.
“It’s a role I don’t mind playing because I don’t mind taking the beating,” Beach added. “If it will help the team win, then it’s got to be done. Somebody’s got to do it.”
What makes Beach’s antics against Kelowna even more remarkable is that being a Kelowna native, he knows most of the Rockets. He goes to high school with Kelowna defenseman Luke Schenn, and Schenn spent most of the series trying to take Beach’s head off.
“We actually joke about that stuff almost every day at school,” Beach said. “Let’s grab each other, throw each other against the lockers, that kind of stuff.
“Then when it actually happened, it was a bit more serious,” Beach continued with a grin. “It happens, it’s hockey.”
And Beach, who’s always had that agitation aspect to his game, has been fearless since arriving in the WHL. He showed no hesitation of applying it to bigger and older opponents. Among those he’s already gotten involved with is Tri-City defenseman Logan Stephenson, one of the toughest players in the league.
“It makes a little difference (that it’s bigger opponents). When I get beat up it hurts a little more,” Beach said with a chuckle. “Other than that it’s no big deal. It’s just another person that I’m trying to get under their skin.”
Now in the Western Conference finals against Vancouver, one can expect more of the same from Beach.
“I hope I can rattle a couple guys, maybe help out a little bit offensively,” Beach said. “But mostly I just want to shut down their guys and the line I’m playing against.”
No doubt Beach will go about doing it in a way that makes things happen.