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Jones reflects on shutout at Top Prospects

Thursday, 01.17.2013 / 9:39 AM

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

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 won a gold medal with the United States 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. Our team just defeated Team Cherry, 3-0, to win this year's Top Prospects Game. Before leaving for Portland, I thought I would put together a quick victory blog.

I thought our goalies [Spencer Martin and Philippe Desrosiers] played phenomenal. Really, you have to give credit to them for the shutout. They both kind of set the tempo in the defensive zone, and I thought our defensive zone coverage was pretty good.

I thought the top line on Team Cherry -- [Ryan] Hartman, [Nathan] MacKinnon, [Jonathan] Drouin -- had a lot of chances and they created a lot of offensive plays, but luckily for our side they didn't get rewarded.

Laurent Dauphin [of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens] got called up because [Hunter] Shinkaruk was ill, and he played great for us [Wednesday] and was named Team Orr player of the game. He was great in the middle and was rewarded with a goal. He played good at both ends. He's a good player.

In the early stages of the game, you had to get a feel for the game with the ice, the pace and then adjust how you needed to play. Right from the start, I thought the game began very fast and thought it would take a little more time to get the pace up, but it started a lot quicker than I thought it would.

It didn't surprise me that Hartman got into a scrap [with Kerby Rychel] in the first period. That's the way Harts plays. He plays with an edge and knows how to get under the skin of the other team.

Overall, this was a great experience. Anytime you can play against top prospects in the CHL, it's awesome. You kind of get to see where you're at overall among the draft-eligible players. I thought it was a fast-paced game and it was physical out there, too. Right from the start, Hartman had a good hit and, actually, the hits were going both ways, so it was a good overall game.

Now, I'm just looking forward to getting back to Portland for the second half of the season. It should be a lot of fun since we're going pretty good as a team right now. I think we have a nice win streak so we're looking to keep it going.

Thanks for reading.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter at: @seth_jones04

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery