GLENDALE – B.J. Crombeen is embracing the trade that brought him to the Coyotes on Sunday, and he’s looking forward to getting re-acquainted with a few people from his early days in pro hockey.
“I’m very excited,” Crombeen said after joining Arizona via a trade with Tampa Bay that also landed the Coyotes center Sam Gagner. “The way I play fits well with the way Coach Tippett coaches, and in that (Pacific) division a lot of those teams are big and physical, so I think that’s what I can bring to the table for the Coyotes. It’s an exciting opportunity for me. This team is a team going in the right direction.”
Crombeen knows well how Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett coaches; Tippett was Crombeen’s first NHL head coach with Dallas in 2007-08.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for the way that he works with the players and holds players accountable,” Crombeen said. “Playing for a team that holds everyone accountable across the board is a perfect place for me to be.”
Crombeen also is being reunited with goalie Mike Smith. The two were teammates with the Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and they lived across the hall from each other in the same building.
|B.J. Crombeen. Photo by Getty Images. |
“That was my first year pro and he kind of showed me the ropes, so I’ve stayed in touch with him and I’ve been pretty good buddies with him ever since,” Crombeen said.
Crombeen, 28, has played 387 NHL games over seven seasons. He scored a career-high 11 goals playing for St. Louis in 2008-09.
“My game is a pretty honest, straight-forward game,” Crombeen said. “I try to compete hard every shift and be hard to play against, and I go to the hard areas of the ice and do the ugly jobs. That’s a big part of my game, and so is being there for my teammates and standing up for them when needed.”
Last season with Tampa Bay, Crombeen dropped the gloves 11 times.
“It’s part of my game but I don’t think of myself as a fighter,” he said. “I don’t go out and look for fights for no reason, but I’ll always try to be there if a teammate needs someone to stand up for them or if the team needs a spark. I’m happy to do whatever I can to help the team or put the team into a better spot.”