SethJones

Jones ‘definitely’ wants to prove Avs, Panthers and Bolts wrong

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The surprise of the early part of the NHL Draft — Seth Jones falling to Nashville at No. 4 overall — has left a chip on Jones’ shoulder.

“You definitely want to prove them wrong and you definitely want to show them why they should have picked you,” Jones said after Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay all passed on selecting him. “That’s not my only goal next year, but it’s definitely on my list.”

Jones, the No. 1-rated North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, was thought to be a virtual lock for a top-three spot. Preds GM David Poile — who didn’t figure he’d have a chance to pick Jones — couldn’t stop raving about the WHL Portland blueliner prior to the draft.

“Absolutely, 100 percent. 110 percent,” Poile said earlier this week, when asked if the Preds would take Jones. “I think he’s the best player in the draft.

“He’s the whole package, He has size, he has great skating, he has offensive abilities. I certainly think he’s going to be an aggressive player.”

It’s unclear exactly why Jones fell.

Colorado was clearly enamored with Nathan MacKinnon at the No. 1 spot, and Florida thought highly enough of Aleksander Barkov to use the No. 2 pick on him (after a “healthy debate,” according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.)

Tampa Bay opted for Jonathan Drouin — considered to be the best playmaker in the draft — at No. 3, leaving Nashville the golden opportunity to draft the guy they wanted all along.

“He can be a Norris Trophy winner,” Poile said. “That’s not to say the other guys couldn’t be equally as good, but that’s how I would have him — as the best player in the draft.”

Nashville also has to be thrilled about the Jones-Phil Housley reunion. Housley, who coached Jones on the gold medal-winning American World Junior team in 2013, was hired as an assistant coach in Nashville earlier this month.

And as for Jones? He’s happy to be going to Music City.

“I love country [music], to be honest,” he said. “I listen to it a lot, actually. “

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.