One tough son of a Beach

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

They only really need a goalie.

And some defence.

Okay, and maybe another scorer. Or three.

Nope, there's nothing wrong with the Senators' depth chart a half-dozen first-round picks wouldn't cure. The Managing Murrays will tell you that themselves. But since the likelihood remains they'll only get one -- and a modest 18th selection overall, at that -- Ottawa will be looking to hit a home run when captain Daniel Alfredsson is asked to announce the team's first-round choice at Scotiabank Place tonight.

With some luck, the Senators will have the opportunity to land one tough son of a Beach.

Central Scouting's final rankings have Everett Silvertips centre Kyle Beach in the seven hole. He is a 6-foot-3, 200-lb. "power forward" with great hands and a blistering shot.

Alas, Beach also carries baggage that could prove heavy enough that some say could make him slip a few spots. Possibly, not likely but possibly all the way to 18th. Maybe, doubtful just maybe, right to the second round.

No way could the Senators afford to let this one slip by. He could be their home run.

For the record, Beach has been suspended for bumping a referee. He has been in trouble for making fun of an opponent's birth defect (the formidable ex-Vancouver Giant, current Boston Bruin Milan Lucic). He taunts and chirps opponents. He also readily fights them.

In the past two WHL seasons, along with scoring 121 points, Beach has somehow found the time to amass 418 penalty minutes. Referred to as junior hockey's "bad boy," he's been compared to New York Rangers super pest Sean Avery -- and it was Beach himself who drew the comparison.

At a media luncheon for prospects and media, the Kelowna native said he is trying to model his game after his idol, Jarome Iginla, then claimed his off-ice reputation is being painted with fictitious Internet message boards and blogs.

"By all the rumours, I should have about five different criminal records," said Beach. "As of right now, I don't have any."

What's the doozy of all the make-believe stories about him out there?

"I heard that I beat a garbage man down with a bat, that was outside my house taking my garbage," said Beach. "I don't think I've ever talked to a garbage man."

Anyone he has talked to, anything he has done, has not proved serious enough to keep him from the most anticipated day of a prospect's life. But it has put Beach in a position to answer questions others don't hear.

Every NHL team has interviewed him at least once. Each has grilled him about his behaviour on and off the ice, each has mulled over the pros and cons of spending a first-round pick on a guy who has been known to tiptoe the line.

The Senators' hesitancy would be understandable, for they are about to give an individual who has danced over it a couple of million to beat it.

"He's one of the guys we've targeted," Senators assistant GM Tim Murray said of Beach. "But the question you ask yourself is, were the off-ice issues legit, or the escapades of an immature kid that has to grow up.

"He has an edge that people don't want to play against, but he's also the guy with the red flag and the downside."

Central Scouting's E.J. Maguire said the team that drafts Beach will be very happy to get him. "And (its) fans will be entertained for years to come," he added.

Yes, when he enters Scotiabank Place tonight, the Senators would be extremely fortunate to find themselves in a position to keep the tough son of a Beach right there.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...

The No. 1-ranked North American goalie, Thomas McCollum, stumbled into the position by default. When he was a 10-year-old defenceman for the Wheatfield Blades, the team's 'tender stormed off the ice after giving up two quick goals, and never did come back. "The whole team pretty much turned and looked at me," said McCollum, a teammate of No. 3-ranked Drew Doughty's with the Guelph Storm of the OHL. "I was like, well, I guess I'll give it a go. So I played it, didn't hurt anything, and I really fell in love with the position." McCollum refuses to embarrass the goalie who quit on the Blades by divulging the fellow's name, even though he should really be getting credit for putting McCollum in the position he's in today. Meanwhile, McCollum still isn't feeling any pain. Asked if he has any of the quirkiness of other goalies, he said no. "The only weird thing my teammates have picked up on is I tend to laugh if I get hit in the head," he said. "If I get hit in the head with a shot, I think it's funny." ... Senators GM Bryan Murray was asked if he'll try to make a trade with Sharks counterpart Doug Wilson for the negotiating rights to potential unrestricted free agent Brian Campbell. Murray said no, because he thinks Campbell's asking price will be too high. As is Wilson's. "Doug wants my youngest child and a second-round pick," joked Murray. "And she has left home already." ... The Senators would be thrilled to wind up with Sweden's Jacob Markstrom, the top-rated international goalie. The question is, do they spend a first-round pick on him or pray that he'll still be available in the second ... Remember Mathieu Chouinard, selected by Ottawa in the first round of the 1998 draft and then, when they couldn't sign him, again by the Senators in the second round of the 2000 draft? You know, the goalie so nice they took him twice? Well, Chouinard will be at the Scotiabank Place tonight, as a rep for Ballistic hockey equipment ... No. 4-ranked Tyler Myers has drawn numerous comparisons to Zdeno Chara. Myers is a 6-foot-7 defenceman. "My stick is taller than most of my (Kelowna Rockets) teammates," said Myers, who was born in Texas and moved to Calgary at 10. Had his dad not transferred north, Myers knows what he'd be doing. "I'd definitely be playing basketball right now at some high school in Texas," he said. "I'd be looking at some colleges right now and dribbling the ball around."


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