Jeff Beukeboom knows a thing or two about playing defence. He has four Stanley Cup rings to prove it.
The big, bruising defenseman won three cups with the Edmonton Oilers (1987, 1988, and 1990), and one with the New York Rangers in 1994, although most of us don’t remember that last one happening.
Beukeboom was known as one of the top defensive defencemen in the league, and certainly one of the most physical, hardest hitting players to patrol the blueline in recent memory. Now he has turned to coaching and currently serves as an assistant coach with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. One of the players Beukeboom coaches in Sudbury is Vancouver Canucks draftee Frankie Corrado, who was chosen in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Canucks.com recently spoke with Beukeboom to gain some insight on Corrado from a coach’s perspective.
Canucks.com: Coach Beukeboom thanks for taking the time to chat with us. How are you enjoying coaching? Are you having fun?
Beukeboom: “It’s great. I like working with the kids, especially a kid like Frankie (Corrado). It’s challenging and fun at the same time, I’m really enjoying it.”
CDC: You have coached Frankie for three seasons now, how much has he grown as a young man on and off the ice in that time?
B: “Quite a bit. He came in as a 16-year-old and has done really well, he is a good kid that has grown a lot and has always shown a lot of promise. He has taken that natural progression from a 16-year-old to 17-year-old, and now he is a leader, drafted and signed into the NHL.”
CDC: In a span of only a few months he was drafted into the NHL, played in NHL preseason games, and signed a contract with the Canucks. How did he handle all of that? Did you see much of a change in his attitude when he returned to Sudbury at the start of the season?
B: “Yeah, he was more confident, more mature. I think any time that happens to a kid it helps not to worry about what you need to do that year to get a contract.”
CDC: Frankie made a lot of progress this last year: he went from a fifth round draft pick to being named a finalist for the Max Kaminsky Trophy, an award that goes to the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman. Would you say this year was a ‘coming out’ party for him?
B: “Yeah definitely, he was spectacular all year. He got a puck in the mouth, which was a little bit of a setback, it took him a bit to get back to where he was, but he is the real deal, good player, and good kid.”
CDC: How beneficial to Frank was getting some AHL experience with the Chicago Wolves at the end of the season?
B: “I think it was good. Some kids don’t realize how tough the AHL is, it was good for him to play against men as opposed to being an older player in junior. Now he knows what it is like to be a pro and see guys who are trying to battle for jobs for next year and make the NHL. I think it’s a bit of an eye-opener for most kids. I talked to Chicago Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish a bit, and he really likes him, and the organization obviously really likes him. He is on the right path.”
CDC: What would you say is his biggest strength on the ice?
B: “His positional play. He gets in the battles, he is not the biggest or strongest kid but he has a real strong stick. In his own end he is always on the right side of the puck with an active stick. When he tries to do too much he finds himself in trouble like most young kids, but he doesn’t do that very often.”
CDC: If there is a current or former NHL player that plays a similar style to Frank, and who would that be in your opinion?
B: “There are a couple players that come to mind that I played with, Charlie Huddy and Bruce Driver. Just complete players that can do it all and play in any situation. Dan Hamhuis is another example, a pretty unheralded player, a very complete player, and I think Frankie is along those lines.”
CDC: Can you give us some insight on to what kind of person he is off the ice?
B: “He is very good with the young guys and takes them under his wing. He is very caring and remembers what it was like when he was coming into the league (OHL). Every year we have had our midget draft he always is texting me to get the kids numbers that we drafted to talk to them, wish them luck, and help them out along the way. He always looks out for others and is very valuable in that way.”
CDC: He likes to play the guitar, have you heard him play?
B: “Yeah a little bit. He has brought it on the bus a few times, there are a couple other guys that play it, but I know he is a little bit more accomplished then them. He enjoys it, that’s for sure.”
CDC: Frankie is known as the team DJ, how do you like his taste in music?
B: “(Laughs), quite honestly I’m usually in the other room so I don’t listen much to the music, and I’m not much of a music person so I can’t comment on that.”
CDC: What do you think of his moustache when he grows it?
B: “I can’t talk, I am not a real bearded or moustache person myself, but from what I have seen of it, it should get better with age, just like a fine wine.”
CDC: We have all seen that amazing end-to-end goal he scored against London last season, could he have done that if you were patrolling the London blueline?
B: “(Laughs), I would say I hope not, but who knows, it’s not like I have never been burnt like that before.”
CDC: Thanks again for sitting down with Canucks.com, Coach Beukeboom, it has been a blast.
B: “No problem, anytime.”