Day 18: October 6, 2008Right Wing B.J. Crombeen
It was great to be with the team at the end of last year and get some games in with the team. I was able to come into camp with a bit more expectations about what I think I can do at this level and what I needed to do to make the team. It’s been a battle right from the start of camp – there are three or four good players who are trying to fight and make the team and there aren’t many spots open. It’s been a grind, but I feel it’s been going pretty well. Everyone’s been playing well and I think everyone’s looking forward to getting the regular season going and get into games that mean something and getting into a real competition atmosphere. Like I said, I think it’s gone pretty well so far, but I think the real test is going to be starting Friday night when we get to the real, regular season and get to games that actually count for something.
I shouldn’t say the games don’t mean anything during the preseason, they always mean something, especially to guys like me who are trying to make the team. I’m not only trying to make the team, I’m trying to prove that I can play at this level and prove what I can do for the team. No game means nothing, it’s just that everyone really wants to get into the regular season games. Like I said, I’m just trying to go out every night and play my game and just do whatever I can to help the team.
As far as some of the fights I’ve gotten in, I’ve haven’t exactly done the best in all of them, let’s just put it that way! I’m not going to say that I’m going to win them all, I’m just trying to show up and protect my teammates and stand up for them. If I have to lose every fight all year, that’s fine with me, as long as I continue to show up and stand up for my teammates. I don’t consider myself a real tough guy by any means – some of the guys at this level are pretty big guys! You have to really know what you’re doing to do well in fights at this level, and like I said, I’m going to do my best, but I’m not going to claim that I’m going to beat a lot of guys up or anything. I’m just trying to stand up for my teammates, go out there and play hard, and if a situation arises, I want to be there and I want my teammates to know that I have their backs.
Obviously we want to win every game, you never want to lose a single game you play in, so it’s obviously been a frustrating preseason. I think we all know we’re better than our 1-5-1 record. We know what we have to do in the locker room here, it’s simple execution and hard work. If you look at last game, we out-shot them 41-14, I think, so it’s just a matter of bearing down on our chances and putting those pucks in the net. We know what we have to do, just make some minor adjustments. We’ve got a couple days this week before the home opener on Friday, so we’ll get to work and try to figure out exactly what we need to do.
My goal coming in to camp was to make the team, so I’m thrilled to still be here. It’s still day-to-day, and you never know how long you’re going to be here, but I’m just going to try and play hard every game and practice hard every day and try to do what I do best and leave the decision-making in other people’s hands. The pressure is tough to deal with sometimes, but I think everyone has to go through it at some point. It’s part of hockey. It’s obviously not the best situation, but it’s something you’ve got to do. It’s everyone’s dream to play here at the NHL level , so I’m ecstatic to be here still, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to stay here. If that means going through that pressure, that’s fine with me.