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Predators to pair Weber, Jones for first time

Tuesday, 10.08.2013 / 2:34 PM | John Manasso  - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- For the first time this season, the Nashville Predators will pair rookie defenseman Seth Jones, the fourth pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, with captain and two-time Norris Trophy finalist Shea Weber.

The move was necessitated by the concussion that Roman Josi, Weber's usual partner, suffered on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche. Jones had started out the season on the Predators' third pair with fellow rookie Mattias Ekholm.

With the loss of Josi in the game on Friday, Jones ended up playing 25:46, the most minutes of any Predator. While Nashville has lost each of its first two games, Jones has nonetheless managed to finish on the plus side in each and enters the team's home opener at Bridgestone Arena against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday with a plus-2 rating.

"I think every coach, with a player just out of junior, they just want to see if they can play against top players and play those minutes and if you were going to grade him on how he did in Colorado, it would be an A-plus," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He was really good."

The pair of Jones, the team's future, with Weber, its present, and their size as a tandem is sure to present a hockey rarity: Twin Towers, a term usually reserved for basketball, the sport Jones' father Popeye played professionally. Jones stands 6-foot-4 and goes 205 pounds while Weber is 6-4, 233. Both Jones and Weber said that they had never played regularly with a partner of similar size.

"Definitely cover a lot of ice with our wingspan," Weber said. "Definitely, two guys who are rangy, have long sticks, long reach and hopefully make it a challenge for some of the (opposing) top forwards."

Jones said that he has not played much at all with Weber.

"It should be a good time," Jones said. "Makes your life a lot easier out there. I'm looking forward to it."

The right-handed Jones will play the left side, his off side, so that Weber can stay on his customary right.

"I feel fine," Jones said of playing the left. "I feel comfortable with it."

Ryan Ellis will take Josi's spot in the lineup and play with Ekholm.

Projected lineups:

PREDATORS

Eric Nystrom - David Legwand - Filip Forsberg

Gabriel Bourque - Matt Cullen - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Patric Hornqvist

Matt Hendricks - Paul Gaustad - Rich Clune

Seth Jones - Shea Weber

Kevin Klein - Victor Bartley

Ryan Ellis - Mattias Ekholm

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: Roman Josi, Viktor Stalberg, Nick Spaling

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikael Granlund - Dany Heatley

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Nino Niederreiter

Justin Fontaine - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Keith Ballard

Niklas Backstrom

Josh Harding

Scratched: Mathew Dumba, Nate Prosser

Injured: Charlie Coyle, Mike Rupp

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