Canucks and Beyond

Kris Beech a Canuck

01/10/2008 at 2:58pm EST

To answer some questions about Kris, I dug up this article by Aaron Portzline at The Columbus Dispatch, originally published December 14th, 2007:

Kris Beech spent stretches of the 2001-02 season as a 20-year-old playing alongside scary-skilled forwards Alexei Kovalev and Mario Lemieux with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“The greatest player ever,” Beech said of Lemieux.

Last season, Beech had a handful of looks on a line with young star Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

So his current slot with the Blue Jackets—on the No. 1 line between wingers Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev—is not a new experience.

How Beech is approaching it could be what’s different.

“In the past, I put so much pressure on myself to step right in and produce lots of points,” Beech said. “Now, I’m not worried about the numbers. That’s the attitude I’ve got now. It’s a lot easier game to play, just worrying about what you can control. And your work ethic is the only thing you can control.”

Funny thing is, Beech is putting up points like never before.

In seven games with the Blue Jackets, he is on a point-per-game pace with three goals and four assists.

And they haven’t been cheap points.

At the time that article was published, the Blue Jackets were clearly pretty high on Beech.

Here’s a bit of his career background:

The Capitals drafted Beech No. 7 overall in 1999, then traded him to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2001 in the Jaromir Jagr deal.

“Those things both created really high expectations,” Beech said this past training camp. “I think for a long time I was preoccupied with living up to all of that.”

After spending 79 games with the Penguins in 2001-02—flanked at times by Kovalev and Lemieux, he had 10 goals and 15 assists—Beech spent most of the next six seasons in the minors, playing just 26 games in the NHL.

“Playing that many games with Pittsburgh (in 2001-02), and then not getting much of a look after that … that was something I had to recover from mentally,” Beech said.

Last season, he played in 64 games with Washington, lining up with Ovechkin sporadically, and had eight goals and 18 assists.

When the Capitals didn’t extend a qualifying offer, Beech became an unrestricted free agent. The Blue Jackets, seeking depth, signed him to a one-year, $585,000 contract Aug. 7.

“I was excited when (Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson) signed him,” Nash said. “I thought it was a great move. You can see why he was a top pick.”

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