Tampa Bay Lightning RW B.J. Crombeen will play with the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears
Another Tampa Bay Lightning player has found a place to play during the lockout as right wing B.J. Crombeen will join the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears.
Crombeen is expected to play Saturday and Sunday for the Minnesota Wild affiliate. His contract allows Crombeen to evaluate on a week-to-week basis if he wants to continue playing.
Crombeen said he took the step not only because of the lockout but because he missed 42 games last season with a shoulder injury.
"Obviously, missing half of last season and not playing games I didn't want to sit too long," Crombeen said.
Perhaps playing some games also will take away some of Crombeen's frustration about the lockout. A member of the Players' Association negotiating committee, he said it was "pretty stupid" for commissioner Gary Bettman to suggest a two-week cooling-off period from negotiations.
"It's frustrating and aggravating the way the NHL is going about this," Crombeen added.
Crombeen is the second Tampa Bay player -- center Nate Thompson is with the Alaska Aces -- to join an ECHL team. Lightning players in Europe are defenseman Victor Hedman (KHL's Barys Astana), goaltender Anders Lindback (Finland's Ilves Tampere), forward Adam Hall (Germany's Ravensburg) and defenseman Brendan Mikkelson (Sweden's Vasteras).
Here is the announcement from the Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears announced today that they have agreed to terms with RW B.J. Crombeen.
Crombeen (6'2", 212 lbs.) was acquired by the Tampa Bay Lighting (NHL) from the St. Louis Blues (NHL) over the summer. He spent each of the last three seasons (2009-2012) with the Blues, playing in 199 games while scoring 15 goals and adding 17 assists for 32 points along with 393 penalty minutes (PIM). He also spent the majority of the 2008-09 season with St. Louis, skating in 66 games after moving on to the Blues from the Dallas Stars (NHL). His NHL career includes 288 games with 580 PIM as well as 56 points on 27 goals and 29 assists.
The Denver, Colorado, native was drafted by Dallas in the second round (#54 overall) in the 2003 NHL entry draft and originally broke into the NHL with Dallas when he appeared in eight games during the 2007-08 season. That year, he played in 65 games with the Iowa Stars in the American Hockey League (AHL), where he had 158 PIM to go along with 28 points on 14 goals and 14 assists. Crombeen has played in 21 regular season ECHL games, all with the Idaho Steelheads in 2005-06 and 2006-07, where he had 12 goals and seven assists as well as 48 PIM. He was part of the Steelheads 2006-07 Kelly Cup Championship team, appearing in 22 playoff contests with 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) and 45 PIM.
Prior to turning pro, Crombeen played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) from 2001-2005, all for the Barrie Colts. He played 248 games over those four seasons, picking up 516 PIM, 86 goals, and 84 assists for 170 points. He served as the captain of his 2004-05 Barrie Colts squad, and also won a gold medal with the Canadian Under-18 World Junior Championships team in 2002-03.
"I had a chance to watch B.J. as he came up through the St. Louis and Peoria organization," said head coach Drake Berehowsky. "He will be a great addition to our team through his skills, leadership, and experience during his time in Orlando."
The Solar Bears continue their seven-game home stand on Saturday, November 17, at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, November 18, at 3:00 p.m., and Tuesday, November 20, at 7:00 p.m. against the Kalamazoo Wings.