Newly signed college prospect J.T. Brown doesn't mind seeing his name in the newspaper — most of the time.
Brown, a 21-year-old winger out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, signed with the Lightning on Wednesday and made his NHL debut Saturday. During the past two years the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has garnered plenty of headline attention.
As a freshman in 2010-11, Brown was named Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four after leading UM-D to a national championship. As a sophomore this season he received plenty of attention from NHL scouts as he contemplated coming out of school to start a pro career.
Plenty of teams were interested in his services and his name was in plenty of headlines, especially after UM-D was eliminated from the NCAA tournament last weekend leading up to his signing with the Lightning.
But there was that one time last summer when his name made headlines for a different reason.
On June 18, 2011, Brown was arrested outside Grandma's Sports Garden in Duluth at around 11:30 p.m. for using a false ID and providing a false name to police — both misdemeanor charges — then fleeing on foot. The incident occurred two weeks prior to his 21st birthday. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on March 20 that Brown pleaded guilty to both charges and is awaiting sentencing.
"For the most it's over and definitely you learn from it; it's not fun to have your name in the newspaper," he said. "It was obviously a mistake, a bad decision on my part and I'll definitely move forward from there. There is nothing previously from me growing up, no previous record. They know it was a bad decision and they won't throw the book at you for a bad decision."
Saturday's game was one of five remaining for the Lightning this season. Coach Guy Boucher said Brown will get ample opportunity to play in many situations.
"We are going to give him some ice time with quality players and give some time to show us the stuff that our scouts and GM have seen in him," Boucher said.
The Norfolk Admirals, Tampa Bay's affiliate in the American Hockey League, extended their winning streak to 22 games with a midweek sweep of the St. John's Ice Caps, including Friday's 2-1 victory.
The streak is the longest in North American professional hockey history, according to the AHL.
The Admirals have won 16 consecutive games in regulation, tying the record set by the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1984-85. Norfolk's next game is Tuesday at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Norfolk's last loss was 4-2 at Springfield on Feb. 5 — Super Bowl Sunday.
The Admirals have clinched a playoff berth and are on the verge of division and conference titles, which would guarantee home-ice advantage through the first three rounds of the postseason.
Nuts and Bolts
New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano was introduced to the crowd prior to the game. He wore a Lightning jersey with the No. 52 and "LeGrand" on the back in honor of Eric LeGrand,who was paralyzed while playing football for Schiano at Rutgers. … Lightning C Nate Thompson returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. … D Eric Brewer appeared in his 100th game with Tampa Bay. … D Mike Commodore, D Bruno Gervais and C Trevor Smith were scratched. Smith, who was on an emergency recall, will be reassigned to Norfolk.