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Kyle Beach on Camp, fighting and nicknames

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks

One of the biggest names at this year's Prospect Camp is 2008 first-round draft pick Kyle Beach. We solicited fan questions on
@NHLBlackhawks, the team's official Twitter account, then caught up with Beach at Johnny's Ice House West to get a few of them answered.

What is the atmosphere like at the prospect camp?

Emotions are high, guys are in great shape and working hard. Guys are fighting for a chance at the main camp. For me, it’s a chance to compare myself and my game to other prospects and to make strides. It’s also for me a chance to talk to people within the organization and find out exactly what they want from me going forward.

It’s a great time to be here, especially after the team won the Stanley Cup just a month ago. The stands are full here at Johnny’s today, and the buzz around the city during the playoffs was unbelievable. We owe a huge thanks to the city and the fans for all of the support they’ve given us. We wouldn’t be here without them.

What happened for you to drop the gloves today [against free agent invitee John Kurtz]?

He came off the bench and wanted to fight me; he wasn’t on the ice, but he asked [Rockford head coach] Bill Peters for permission and Bill gave him the green light. He then politely asked me and I told him that I didn’t have my tie-down on and I had to get it on. If he wants to come and be a fighter here, most times – if it’s the right time – I’ll be a willing combatant. It’s just one of those situations where I was frustrated with my play today and he wanted to fight. If that’s how he wants to come and make a name for himself here, I’ll give him the opportunity.

Do you feel any pressure knowing there are spots up for grabs on the defending Cup champ?

I don’t think I feel any added pressure yet. I’m sure come training camp when the media is asking about a “repeat,” I might. But it has given me extra motivation to get myself ready and in the best shape I can be in for training camp.

The team has done it once, and we’re happy, but I don’t think anyone is satisfied. The Blackhawks have a great core: a great captain in Jonathan Toews and great players like Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp. They were a really tight-knit bunch this year, and hopefully I can join that core this coming season.

Do you have any cool nicknames?

In Spokane, my teammates Ryan Letts and Mitch Wahl came up with the name “Birch.” I think it started as “Birchwood,” and slowly moved to something else and finally ended as “Birch.” Here, it’s just been “Beachy” or “Beach.”

What have you worked on during the offseason?

I had the opportunity to be here for the playoffs, all the way through the Stanley Cup parade. It has taken away a little bit from my summer training, having been here for so long; I spent a week at home, a week training and now I’m back here in Chicago.

One thing I’m really trying to focus on is my quickness; I’m working on my first three strides, trying to get up to top speed. I’ll hopefully be working with [skating coach] Paul Vincent here throughout the summer, working on my speed and quickness. As far as off the ice, I’m going to be in the gym five or six days a week working on cardio, quickness and strength. Obviously, conditioning can always be better. Come September, I want to be as ready as I can be.

What fact could you share about yourself that we might find interesting or unusual?

People hear a lot about me and my personality, but at the same time, I’ve already talked with the guy I fought today, and there usually aren’t any hard feelings after a fight. We both know that we’re here to make an impression.

I think that’s something that hockey fans don’t always understand, especially at these prospects camps: yes, we’re going to do whatever it takes to make an impact, but at the same time I’m rooming with the guy I just got finished fighting against. It’s definitely interesting in that aspect.
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