Originally posted on NY Rangers Blog  |  Last updated 9/4/12

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Dylan McIlrath, drafted tenth overall by the New York Rangers poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Bruce Berlet of Howlings.net recently caught up with new Connecticut Whale Assistant Coach Jeff Beukeboom, who returns to the organization he helped win a Stanley Cup in 1994 and, arguably, was the last great physical defenseman the team had.

We already know Beukeboom is happy to be back with the Rangers. Now, he's charged with replacing J.J. Daigneault and his success cultivating the Rangers defenseman prospects that have come through Connecticut that include Marc Staal, Dan Giardi and Ryan McDonagh.

Now the focus shifts, primarily on 2010 first-round pick Dylan McIlrath, who looks to be cut from the Beukeboom cloth as an intimidating, physical defenseman.

Beukeboom on working with McIlrath

...“Obviously it’s important to develop all the kids, but (McIlrath) is obviously is a guy the Rangers are going to be focusing on a little but more than others, which is fair,” Beukeboom said. “But if I just so happen to work with the forwards after practice, my job is improving them that day, and the same thing for the defensemen or anyone. I’m out there to lend a hand and pass on my experiences, whether they’re hockey or life experiences, and make sure they get ahead.”... 

Beukeboom on how to get AHL players to buy in to your coaching

...“The kids aren’t dumb,” Beukeboom said. “They’re aware if you’re not doing your work or you’re not prepared, you’re not doing what’s in the best interest of the team and themselves. If you’re willing to do all these things and can look the kid in the eye and say, ‘This is what you need to do,’then he can trust you and knows the coach is doing his homework and doing what he needs to do to be successful.”... 
  • I'm personally excited to see Beukeboom back with the organization. I'm confident in saying he'll do an adequate job of replacing what Daigneault was able to do with the Whale defenseman.
  • I'm particularly interested in seeing how McIlrath responds to Beuke. A shame his knee was messed up this summer. I think after his rehab and a full season under his tutelage, McIlrath will be ready to contend for a spot on the NYR blue line next season. 
Give a follow on Twitter @TheWrage or Facebook. E-mail me with any questions or comments at jwrabel9@hotmail.com. 
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