The Skate Podcast never rests, not even for the holiday seasons, and this week co-hosts Ken Laird and Matt Kalman bring you an episode they conducting with University of Michigan assistant coach, and former Bruins goaltender, Steve Shields.
The main topic they talked to Shields about was the development of 2019 Boston first-round draft pick (No. 30) John Beecher, who has nine points (five goals, four assists) through 16 games thus far as a freshman for the Wolverines. This week Beecher is part of the U.S. team at the IIHF World Junior Championship being played in the Czech Republic.
“Johnny’s great. You know I think that if you’re a team and you’re picking late in the first round, Johnny Beecher’s a guy that you feel very fortunate to see at the end of a first round,” Shields said. “And the thing that stands out with me is John Beecher’s got the things that you can’t teach a hockey player, and that is really an innate ability to skate. And this guy can skate. And I haven’t seen small, tall, big power forwards, I haven’t seen a guy that skates better than Johnny Beecher. …
“If I was a Bruins fan I would be very excited for the future, where a guy like Johnny who becomes ready and a pro prospect is, in my opinion, if we do our jobs the right way, he should be a guy that has a lot of success for Boston for a lot of years.”
Shields also talked about the things Beecher needs to work on, and the progress of the development of Bruins 2015 seventh-round pick (No. 195) Jack Becker, who’s Beecher’s teammate and sometimes linemate at Michigan.
Shields also reminisced about his 36-game stint in 2002-03 with the Bruins, and the goaltenders he played with, including Tim Thomas and Andrew Raycroft. And Shields talked about what it’s like to have a relationship against with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney 16 years after they were teammates in Boston.
“When I played with Don, he’s the exact same as he is today. He’s a family guy, he knows what he’s doing, he does his job, and he’s a professional,” Shields said.