ARLINGTON, Va. -- Someone with the 2013 U.S. Men's National Team Camp management team has a fine sense of humor.
How else to explain that Ryan Suter, the one-time franchise defenseman for the Nashville Predators, spent the three nights of the camp sharing a room with Seth Jones, who is the franchise-defenseman-in-waiting for those same Predators?
By the way, David Poile, the Nashville general manager, also is the general manager for USA Hockey for the men's team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Quite the coincidence, no?
"I was probably a little bit surprised and [Suter] said he was too. It's kind of weird," Jones told NHL.com. "With Poile being the GM here, it might have been set up."
The awkwardness did not last too long, though. After all, both are hockey players with a good deal in common. Before too long, Jones was picking the brain of Suter, who was a first-round pick of the Predators in 2003 and developed into a franchise defender before leaving as a free agent for the Minnesota Wild in 2012. Jones was the fourth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft; he had been NHL Central Scouting's top-ranked North American skater heading into the draft.
While Suter's decision to leave the Predators did not sit well in Nashville hockey circles, he's spent the past 72 hours or so showing nothing but love for his first NHL home.
"We talked a little bit about Nashville and I asked him a couple of questions," Jones told NHL.com. "I was there for development camp over the summer, but I didn't get to see too much around the area.
"He [Suter] said it was just a world-class organization. Everything they do there is first-class, the coaching staff is great, the management as well, and all the players. He got to play with all those guys. He said they are great people off the ice and you will get along with all of them. He also talked about the fans as well. He said it will be tough to go somewhere else and get better fans than Nashville. I was just happy to hear that."
While pairing Suter and Jones together was a good way for Poile to give his prized prospect some valuable insights into Music City, the opportunity to surround Jones with so many high-end players will pay far bigger dividends down the road.
"A lot of guys here have won Stanley Cups and know what it takes to win," Jones said. "Bill Guerin and Chris Drury have talked to us quite a bit, and it is always great to hear what they have to say going through so much in their careers. It's always good to hear from veterans what it takes. Hopefully there are more of these camps to come, and you can take some of what they said and put it into your game.
As far as Jones' game, he said he is ready to start his first NHL training camp next week.
"I feel pretty ready," Jones said. "It should be an exciting moment and hopefully I can make the team this year."
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