Son of Popeye: Seth Jones is the future of defense for Team USA

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Being the son of a former professional athlete can sometimes lead you to a life in professional athletics yourself. It happened with Wayne Gretzky’s son Trevor who recently signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs that was negotiated by his dad. For Team USA World Junior prospect Seth Jones, he too has a famous athlete dad although not quite on par with “The Great One.”

Jones’ dad is former NBA sixth-man Ronald “Popeye” Jones and while Popeye had a nice NBA career, his son Seth is shaping up to be one of the hottest defensive prospects in the NHL in years. At just 16 years-old, Jones was the youngest player at the World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid. The fact that he survived the first round of cuts and saw some prime playing time during the games at the camp speaks volumes to his talent.

Team USA head coach Dean Blais was very complimentary of Jones’ abilities after their 4-1 win over Finland last week, but he knows that a very bright future is ahead for the son of Popeye as he told Adam Kimelman of NHL.com.

“This kid is big and strong and smart way beyond his years,” Blais said. “He’s good down low, he’s strong. He certainly doesn’t play like he’s a ’94 (born).”

Blais said Jones has been so impressive, the coaching staff needs to keep reminding themselves of just how old he is.

“We talked about that today,” he said. “We keep saying, ‘This kid is only 16.'”

The frightening thought here for Jones is that this is the first of what could be many World Junior camps for him. At his age, he’s eligible to play in the World Juniors until he’s 20. It’s unsure yet if he’ll make this year’s team, but he’s shown that teams will be fighting with each other to try and draft him come 2013. Yes, he’s so young that he’s not eligible to be drafted for two more years. With all the attention being paid to him now, the hype surrounding him by the time the draft rolls around in two years could be off the charts for the 6’3″ 195 pound blue liner.

While Jones’ dad had a great NBA career as a sixth man with multiple teams, Seth Jones is shaping up like he could be a top pair blue liner when it’s time for him to arrive in the pros. When you’re getting big compliments all around, like the glowing words here from Chris Peters at the United States of Hockey, the bar is getting set especially high.

Seth Jones – The youngest player in camp might just be one of the best. Jones hasn’t looked out of place for a second. He assisted on Prince’s first goal with a smart shot from the point. Prince did wonderfully with the redirection, but it was Jones who gave him the opportunity. While he needs to build strength, Seth Jones has proven time and time again he is mentally ready for this tournament. The tools are there, but the brains are what separates him from every kid his age. He plays beyond his years.

If he can keep playing like this, he’ll be able to far exceed his dad’s celebrity as a pro athlete… Now to work on a fun nickname for the son of “Popeye.”

‘A good start’ — Stamkos stands out in preseason debut

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and National Hockey League unveiled the 2018 All-Star Game logo Friday.

Far more importantly for the Bolts this evening was the return of their all-star center Steven Stamkos, as he made his preseason debut in what was his first game in 10 months.

His 2016-17 season was abruptly ended in the middle of November because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, making it the second time in four years his regular season had been disrupted by a major injury.

It may still take a while before Stamkos feels truly comfortable coming back from this injury.But his performance on Friday proved to be a very promising start for No. 91, the Bolts and their fans in Tampa Bay.

He didn’t score, but he assisted on two first period goals, including a nice set-up to linemate Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1. Stamkos also received a healthy dose of ice time, playing more than 19 minutes, including 5:32 on the power play.

His pass to Kucherov resulted in a power play goal.

“It was exciting to get out there, I was pretty anxious about it… It was a good start, something to build on,” said Stamkos afterward, per the Lightning. “It was nice to just go through a game day, I haven’t done it in a long time… I was glad with how the first one went.”

Golden Knights assign 2017 first-round picks Glass, Suzuki to junior

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The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make roster moves during their inaugural training camp.

On Friday, the expansion club assigned four players to junior. That includes 2017 first-round picks Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

The Golden Knights made franchise history by taking Glass with the sixth overall pick and then selected Suzuki at 13th overall. Both players appeared in two preseason games for Vegas, each recording two points in the exhibition opener versus the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nobody is going to rush (the rookies), that’s for sure,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun following the club’s 9-4 win over Vancouver on Sunday.

“We are in a position where we want to make sure they are ready to play. They are going to be good players when they’re healthy and strong enough to play in the league.”

Vegas has all three 2017 first-round picks — Glass, Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — signed to three-year entry-level contracts.

Mitchell signed PTO with Blue Jackets — shortly after getting cut by Blackhawks

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When the Chicago Blackhawks announced their roster moves yesterday, John Mitchell was among the cuts.

His professional tryout with the Blackhawks had come to an end, as it did for veterans Mark Stuart and Drew Miller.

It can be an uphill battle to make an NHL roster for veterans on professional tryouts. But for Mitchell, he quickly received another opportunity to attend a camp and try to land a spot, signing a PTO with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mitchell, 32, has appeared in 548 NHL regular season games with 70 goals and 177 points.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are still without forward and restricted free agent Josh Anderson, as the two sides are stuck in a contract impasse right now. It was reported on Thursday that his representatives have been in contact with Hockey Canada about the 2018 Olympics.

Calgary mayor: ‘Errors of omission’ in Flames arena proposal

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On Thursday, the Calgary Flames released a report claiming they were prepared to contribute $275 million for a new arena, with additional funding — in the ball park of $225 million — from a Community Revitalization Levy.

On Friday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi responded to the proposal and the events of yesterday.

“I wouldn’t say dishonesty. I would, however, say that there are perhaps some errors of omission,” Nenshi told reporters, according to Global Calgary, when asked if there had been a level of dishonesty from the Flames with their proposal.

The Flames not only released a report with financial details to their website, but they also took out ads in local newspapers. Nenshi took issue with the details the Flames released yesterday.

“What was in that ad was not actually what the last deal on the table with the city was,” he said.

“For example, yesterday you saw that the Flames’ owners are claiming that they’re putting $275 million up front. Makes it sound like a (check) is being put on the table. Certainly that has not been discussed. That would’ve really changed things had that been the discussion.

“The discussion, the last I saw, was the Flames were putting $100 million in and the rest would be a ticket tax, which they wanted the city to take out, to get for and to front. I’m not quite sure how that equals the Flames putting in money up front.”

Yesterday, the Flames added in their report that, after two years of discussions with the city about a new arena, they will no longer pursue a new arena in Calgary.

The Flames currently play at the Saddledome, which is now 34 years old.