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Posted On Wednesday, 09.05.2012 / 12:39 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to / - 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 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.

Posted On Tuesday, 09.04.2012 / 4:11 PM

By Pete Jensen - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Landeskog's stock continues to rise

Gabriel Landeskog was named the youngest captain in NHL history Tuesday -- yet another reason why he deserves to be on your fantasy team's radar.

The reigning Calder Trophy winner was tabbed the leader for the Colorado Avalanche after excelling in all six offensive categories (22 G, 30 A, plus-20, 51 PIM, 12 PPP, 270 SOG) during his stellar rookie campaign.'s team of fantasy experts ranked Landeskog as the No. 54 overall fantasy player in its latest set of overall rankings released earlier Tuesday.

Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog
Left Wing - COL
GOALS: 22 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 52
SOG: 270 | +/-: 20
Landeskog's finish to the 2011-12 season saw him emerge with near point-per-game production, as he tallied 13 goals and 17 assists over his last 34 games. The 19-year-old phenom showed tremendous chemistry with late-season linemates Steve Downie and Ryan O'Reilly, posting a plus-20 rating for a non-playoff team in the process. He was owned in 59 percent of Yahoo! leagues at season's end -- a number that is bound to rise after upcoming drafts take place.

Taking into account his PIM production and ever-expanding role for the Avs' power-play unit, Landeskog already warrants keeper consideration in such leagues and should be on every team's draft watch list from the third to fifth rounds -- depending on league size and format.

To see where Landeskog ranks among the game's best fantasy assets, check out's top-175 overall rankings.

Follow Fantasy Insider Pete Jensen on Twitter: @NHLJensen; Join the conversation: @NHLFantasy

Posted On Friday, 08.31.2012 / 6:32 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Summer with Stanley blog

Martinez final Kings player to celebrate with Cup

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez started the week training at his old stomping grounds and ended it with a Stanley Cup celebration among friends and family.

A former standout for the Miami (Ohio) University Redhawks, Martinez was back at the school's Goggin Ice Center to participate in its week-long pro camp. Along with 19 other former Redhawks, including Andy Greene, Ryan Jones, Tommy Wingels and Andy Miele, Martinez returned to the ice for an intense training regimen overseen by Miami coach Enrico Blasi. But the camp wasn't just an opportunity for Martinez to work out and catch up with old teammates.

As one of only three Redhawks -- along with Dan Boyle and Kevyn Adams -- to win the Cup, Martinez was honored in the ice complex lobby. It was there that a massive portrait, showing Martinez during his college days as well as in his triumphant moment with the Kings, was placed on the wall of the building's entrance.

For the second-year player, the real Cup celebration took place Friday when the trophy arrived at his offseason home in Allen, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Martinez received the Cup around 10:30 a.m., after which he and a group of friends and family, including some former Miami teammates, enjoyed lunch at a nearby driving range. From there, the Michigan native held a Cup party at his new home before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant.

For the town of Allen, it's the first time the Cup has been there since making an appearance at a 2009 game of the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League.

While Kings players and coaches have all had their time with the Cup, other members of the organization are awaiting their day. Jeff Solomon, the team's vice president of hockey operations and legal affairs, receives the Cup in San Diego on Saturday, and members of the Kings' training staff will get it in Los Angeles after that.

The Cup's whirlwind summer will end next week with vice president of business operations Luc Robitaille before it is engraved in mid-September with the names of the championship squad.

Posted On Friday, 08.31.2012 / 1:29 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon and Jones headline 2013 draft pool

The 2013 NHL Draft is certainly shaping up to be a good one.

While the Draft may not come close to the number of high-caliber defensemen selected in the first round last June, the depth across the board is quite impressive. During the 2012 Draft at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, 13 defensemen were plucked in the first round to match a record set in 1996.

The run on defensemen started early, too, as three of the top five and eight of the top 10 players picked star on the back end.

The top two players on the board entering this season are center Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League.

Posted On Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 2:21 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Summer with Stanley blog

Lewis brings Lord Stanley to Salt Lake City

Thursday was already scheduled to be a big sports day in Utah, with the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University all scheduled to start their college football seasons that day.

But Trevor Lewis' arrival with the Stanley Cup is providing a nice boost for area hockey fans.

A prep hockey star growing up in Salt Lake City, the Kings center became the first Utah native to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup. So on his day with the Cup, Lewis decided to bring the trophy back to Salt Lake, where he starred at Brighton High School before joining the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL as a 17-year-old. And for a growing hockey community, it's a very big deal.

Posted On Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 10:20 AM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Penguins re-sign four to one-year deals

The Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday re-signed restricted free agents Eric Tangradi, Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Grant to one-year, two-way contracts.

Tangradi, 23, had two assists and 16 penalty minutes in 24 games with the Penguins last season, and 15 goals and 16 assists in 37 games with the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Philadelphia native also skated in two Stanley Cup Playoff games against the Philadelphia Flyers, picking up an assist. If the left wing plays in the NHL this season, he'll make $726,000.

In 40 games split over the past three seasons, Tangradi has one goal and four assists.

Strait, 24, played in nine NHL games, picking up one assist, and saw action in three playoff games. He had 16 points and a plus-7 rating in 41 AHL games. If he stays in the NHL this season, he'll make $605,000.

Bortuzzo, a 23-year-old defenseman, made his NHL debut last season, going without a point in six games. He had 12 points and a plus-9 rating in 51 AHL games.

Grant, a defenseman selected in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Draft, had 10 goals and 27 assists in 61 AHL games. Like Bortuzzo, Grant will make $525,000 if they make the NHL team.

Posted On Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 5:41 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Summer with Stanley blog

Wilson honors family, friends with Cup in Arizona

Denver Wilson's day with the Stanley Cup in Phoenix on Wednesday wasn't exactly typical. Then again, the Los Angeles Kings' assistant equipment manager took a path to the NHL that wasn't exactly typical either.

While the Cup has spent much of the summer in traditional hockey hotbeds, including Minnesota, Massachusetts and most of Canada, Wilson brought the most iconic trophy in sports to Arizona to honor the hockey community that helped carve his way to the NHL.

It starts with his father, Stan Wilson, who has been the Phoenix Coyotes' equipment manager since 1990, when the club was in Winnipeg. In his career with the franchise, the elder Wilson has worked more than 1,500 NHL games, including a tense five-game Western Conference final last May against his son's Kings.

Posted On Tuesday, 08.28.2012 / 12:03 PM

By Staff -  / - Summer with Stanley blog

Drewiske's Cup win completes impressive run of titles

When Los Angeles Kings' center Mike Richards won the Stanley Cup, it marked the ultimate goal in a young career full of championships. Not to be outdone, teammate Davis Drewiske showed off some hardware of his own on Monday, when he enjoyed his day with the trophy.

Richards, who hosted the Cup in his hometown of Kenora, Ont., on Aug. 18, became the first player in hockey history to win a Memorial Cup, Calder Cup and Stanley Cup. But Drewiske had some of his own trophies waiting to meet the Stanley Cup on Monday.

Posted On Monday, 08.27.2012 / 5:57 PM

By Staff -  / - Summer with Stanley blog

Kings' Drewiske takes Stanley Cup to Jablonski

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske spent part of his day with the Stanley Cup at the home of paralyzed Minnesota high school player Jack Jablonski.

According to KARE, Drewiske, a native of Wisconsin, picked up the trophy at the Twin Cities airport and took it to Jablonski, where he and his brother were photographed with the Cup.

"It was exciting to see him," Drewiske told WQOW. "That was one of the highlights of the day so far. He looks remarkably better than last time I saw him in February and March. His attitude is just so fantastic and his family's attitude -- they are just very positive and realistic at the same time. But he's made some great strides in his recovery this summer and it was inspiring to be around them this morning."

Jablonski was paralyzed after hitting the boards during a game last winter. He begins his junior year at Benilde-St. Margarets on Tuesday.

Last month, several NHL players attended a fundraiser for Jablonski at Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.

Drewiske held a viewing party later in the day at his childhood rink in Hudson, Wis.

"It's very special," Drewiske said, according to the Eau Clare, Wis., TV station. "Obviously having the Cup is special, but even more special than that is having all these people here and people that have supported me and my family over the years. This is just a great place to grow up, a great community and really a great area of the country. We're really excited to do something to return the favor a little bit."

Posted On Monday, 08.27.2012 / 3:50 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Goalie Lack re-signs with Canucks

Goaltender Eddie Lack has re-signed with the Vancouver Canucks, the team announced Monday.

TSN's Darren Dreger reports it is a two-year contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level the first year, then $850,000 at the NHL level.

"Soo happy to sign with Vancouver Canucks for another two years," Lack wrote on his Twitter account, according to the Vancouver Sun. "Thanks to everyone involved in the deal."

Lack, 24, played for the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League last season.

The Swede was 21-20-3 with a 2.31 GAA during the regular season, and had a 2.17 GAA in five playoff games.

“Right from day one of his first camp, Eddie came in and surprised everybody and is a very competitive kid who has played very well the last two years,” Canucks assistant general manager Lorne Henning told the Vancouver Province.

Lack was signed by Vancouver as a free agent on April 6, 2010. He is joined on the Canucks' depth chart by Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo.

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