Kyle Beach was on one of the buses that drove through downtown Chicago to celebrate the 2010 Stanley Cup championship in front of millions of fans -- the Hawks wanted the talented youngster to get a small taste of NHL glory.
Two years later, the former top prospect is still waiting for his first official NHL action while others -- Andrew Shaw, Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Brandon Pirri -- have passed him by.
"He went from being the dominant scorer in junior hockey, then he comes to the pro level and its not as easy right off the bat, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman told Blackhawks.com.
Beach, the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 draft, was once viewed as the next great power forward of the organization. In 2009-10, he scored 52 goals with 34 assists and 186 penalty minutes in 68 games for the WHL's Spokane Chiefs. In 2010-11, he scored 16 goals with 20 assists and 163 penalty minutes in 71 games for the Rockford IceHogs.
Last season, Beach got off to a solid start with five goals and five assists in 19 games before a shoulder injury forced him to miss 57 games.
Still only 22, Beach knows he must be patient for his shot in Chicago. But he also knows next season is crucial for his development.
This year is huge for me; its the last year of my entry level deal, so technically its a contract year, Beach told Blackhawks.com. I still feel that I have a lot to prove, not only to the fans and the organizations, but myself as well. I want to prove to myself that I can play and contribute.
We'd been circling this news all week, and now it's getting closer to reality: late Saturday night, Adam Schefter reported that QB Mitch Trubisky will be under center for the Bears' matchup with the Saints this Sunday:
Trubisky was a full participant in practice from Wednesday to Friday of last week, but had still been listed as questionable up to this point. He returns after dislocating his left shoulder in Week 4 against the Vikings and missing the team's Week 5 loss to the Raiders.
The news comes at a crucial juncture of the season for the Bears, who are currently 3-2 and in third place in the NFC North.
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The Bulls waived Milton Doyle, Justin Simon and Simisola Shittu Saturday, which is minor news since they were mostly camp bodies competing for possibly a two-way contract.
The bigger development is that the Bulls’ roster is basically set, pending the signing of one player to the second two-way contract still available. No Iman Shumpert. No Alfonzo McKinnie. And that’s just naming two hometown products recently linked to the Bulls via the rumor mill.
The Bulls still want to see what they have in Chandler Hutchison, who did some individual shooting Saturday but missed all training camp with a hamstring injury. Denzel Valentine, currently out of the rotation, is staying ready.
And Shaq Harrison, who missed all five preseason games with his own hamstring injury but now is fully practicing, remains a Jim Boylen favorite.
And that’s what the roster staying set for now is about as much as anything. The buy-in Boylen has received from players dating to voluntary September workouts and bonds that have formed could be disrupted by the waiving of someone like Harrison, whose contract isn’t fully guaranteed but his commitment is.
While the Bulls recognize proven wing depth is a question mark, they value Harrison’s toughness and defensive ability. If Hutchison or Harrison or Valentine---if he gets an opportunity---don’t produce, perhaps a move could be made at a later date.
But expect only the signing of a second player to a two-way contract to join Adam Mokoka for now.
“We’ve been talking about that,” Boylen said. “We’re working on that. We’ve got our list and have reached out to some people. We’re actively in process.”
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