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Posted On Tuesday, 01.01.2013 / 2:07 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Greetings from Ufa

Seth Jones, who plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, is currently starring for the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones has been paired with Mike Reilly and Jake McCabe at different points in the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia. Prior to playing the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the medal round on Wednesday, Jones provided his assessment of the tournament through four preliminary-round games.

Greeting from Ufa, Russia!

I thought I would provide an update on how things are going for me and Team USA heading into the medal round during our off day.

I think things have been good so far. It's obviously a different culture for everyone, but we're starting to get used to it. The food is a little bit different and it's not usually what you eat back in America, but we just have to deal with it and the team has been really good working together. I think the chemistry is starting to come along off the ice as well. We usually don't hang out a lot since we're with our respective teams during the regular season, but it's been really fun getting to know everyone.

I haven't really gotten out to spend time with teammates. My mom made the trip here, so I've been spending a lot of time with her.

As far as the games are concerned, and compared to games I've been involved with at the Under-18 level, this is probably the most intense hockey I've ever played. Especially back-to-back games against Russia and Canada -- it was a grind. We played good games and came up just short on both occasions. I thought we did a lot of things right in both those games but just didn't get the outcome that we wanted.

I've been pretty satisfied with the way I've played. I think I can eliminate some turnovers in the defensive zone and neutral zone, and keep it simple. But for the most part I feel I've been pretty solid and have been able to create a little on offense as well.

We're now looking forward to the next step of this tournament in the medal round. Whenever I've worn the Team USA jersey in the past, we've always been on the top and I've always been a part of that team that gets the bye into the semis. But this was different. We faced a couple of tough opponents and didn't get the outcomes we wanted, so we had to come from behind and got a big win against Slovakia [on Monday]. So now we're looking to take it one game at a time, and focus on the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy the remainder of the tournament.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter at: @seth_jones04

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 2:36 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones recaps U.S. selection camp in Greenburgh, N.Y.

Hi everyone!

I just completed camp here in Greenburgh at the Rangers' training facility. It was a great experience and I felt very comfortable here right from the start. I was rooming with Stefan Matteau, my teammate for the past two years, and I'm very familiar with him and his personality so it was a very easy transition for me.

On the ice, the team looked great. The first day, there were a lot of drills while trying to get our feet under us after the plane rides. But the next couple of days, we worked on systems and I thought we looked really good out there and the pace was really high.

I was paired with Matt Grzelcyk on the final day of practice [on Tuesday]. We've always been friends, on and off the ice. He's a great player and very smart with the puck, so anytime I can play with him or anyone else, that's a great thing.

I know we're all looking forward to going to Helsinki [Finland] now to continue camp. We have games against Finland and Sweden there so it'll be good to gain a little bit more chemistry between the guys and lines and see where everyone fits in.

I'm also looking forward to getting to Ufa [Russia]. It's obviously a different culture for everyone but we'll just focus on playing hockey over there and winning a gold medal.

Speaking of a gold medal, I'm often asked about what it will take to win the gold. Well, it's going to take everyone giving 100 percent. If that means blocking shots or doing the little things on the ice like getting the puck out of the defensive zone every time and just the little things that win you hockey games and we have to capitalize on the chances we're given. I do like our chances going into the tournament.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter at: @seth_jones04

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.04.2012 / 9:05 AM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones helping team move past adversity

Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones excelled the last two seasons for the U.S. National Team Development Program and likely will play for the U.S. at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Jones has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

It has been an exciting past couple of months for me and the team. We have been extremely successful as a team and the chemistry with each other is really coming alive. We hope to keep the flow going through the rest of the year.

The first part of November saw us run our win streak to 12 games. We have had some close one-goal games and some blowout games as well. Either way, the team gets ready for each game the same. Everybody is calm and relaxed while we play soccer. We are cracking jokes and not thinking about the game too much. You can feel the energy rise the closer you get to game time. We ended up losing to Kamloops, one of our conference rivals, at home on Nov. 16, which snapped our streak.

We let the loss sink in that night, but that did not stop us from winning games. We haven't lost since then -- we've won six straight. December will be a big month for us to end the first half of the season on a high note.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 11:50 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones: Long trip to Prospects Game was worth it

We just finished a very long day here in Buffalo with a great win.

I got in around 10:15 this morning, came to the rink here, dropped off my gear and settled in. I got to see some of the guys I played with and against, and some of the younger guys I know. I did a little media work, nothing big, about 20 minutes. Then I went back to the hotel, had a pregame meal. I tried to sleep as much as I could, but about an hour is all I did, which isn't much. Then it was back to the rink to get ready for the game.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 7:49 AM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones: Long night of travel definitely was worth it

This should be an exciting day.

I flew into Buffalo this morning and I can already feel the energy of the game tonight. It was a long trip and not the easiest. We beat Kelowna 1-0 on Friday, and then I had the red-eye flight out of Portland. I had a layover in Atlanta this morning before I arrived in Buffalo, and I'm pretty tired, but I know it's going to be worth it tonight.

I know most of the players here so I am pretty comfortable. I'm getting to play with and against most of the best American-born draft prospects, which is obviously an awesome experience. I'm looking forward to the pace of play and to the screaming fans of Buffalo.

I hope you are there to see the first CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game tonight.

Check back tomorrow to see what how the game went for me.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter: @seth_jones04

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.05.2012 / 12:39 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones gearing up for big season

Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones excelled the last two seasons for the U.S. National Team Development Program and likely will play for the U.S. at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Jones has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hi everyone. My name is Seth Jones, and this season I will be playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League and I am extremely anxious for the season to be on its way.

Some of you might have heard of my father, Popeye Jones, who played in the NBA and now is an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets. You're probably asking yourself how I got into hockey if my dad was a professional basketball player. Not only do I play hockey, but my older brother Justin and my younger brother Caleb also play.

I was born in Dallas, Texas, and moved around quite a bit because of my dad's career. My family finally settled in Denver, where we ended up living for eight years. I first stepped on the ice when I was about 5 years old. My friends at school were all beginning to play hockey and they influenced me into trying it as well. It was something that I liked, but wasn't very passionate about. But that changed in 2001. I was 7 years old and happened to be at Game 7 when the Colorado Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Final. This was the most unbelievable experience of my life at the time. From that point on my dream was to make it to the National Hockey League and win a Stanley Cup.

Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones in action
(Photo: Christopher Mast)

The first thing I wanted to do was learn how to skate really well because while I was watching all those hockey games, I noticed that was the most important attribute to being successful. So my mom got me to take lessons multiple times a week that just focused on skating and only skating. I played youth hockey in Colorado and then we moved back to Texas about six years ago when my dad decided to take an assistant coaching job with the Dallas Mavericks. I continued to play youth hockey in Dallas and a little over two years ago got an opportunity that does not come around for too many people -- I was invited to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program based out of Ann Arbor, Mich.

This was the first time I would be living away from my family and it wasn't easy to move away from them. But I became comfortable quickly and it was a smoother transition than I would have expected. The USNTDP was huge for me personally. My biggest issue was I did not weigh enough and I knew the program really focused on the physical development side of things off the ice. And playing against 20-year-olds at just 16 really helps, too. I left Ann Arbor after two years with the program 25 pounds heavier. This was a major accomplishment for me and it gave me more confidence on the ice.

Now it's time to get ready for the season in Portland. I got here Aug. 21 and it's been great. It's been very easy to get adjusted. I'm very comfortable, the guys are all very easy to get along with. I felt part of the team from the moment I got here.

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season