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Jones Playing To His Potential

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The numbers show that David Jones has the potential to be a 30-goal scorer in the National Hockey League.

Possessing a unique combination of size, speed and finesse that make him a defender’s nightmare, Jones is showing signs of reaching his full potential this season. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger has been playing on a line recently with Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski, two of the Avalanche’s most gifted offensive players, and has taken full advantage of the situation.

Following Wednesday night’s game in Edmonton – where he scored a second-period goal on a well-placed wrist shot – Jones has totaled 11 points (7g/4a) in 18 games this season. When extrapolated over a full 82-game season, those numbers roughly work out to a 32-goal, 18-assist campaign.
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The only thing holding Jones back recently have been a few tough-luck injuries, which began around the midway point of the 2008-09 season. In a Jan. 27 game against the San Jose Sharks, Jones suffered a shoulder injury which eventually required surgery and caused him to miss the final 34 games of the season.

“Obviously getting hurt was pretty frustrating,” said Jones. “I missed basically half the season. It’s tough, especially since the team wasn’t doing too well and you feel kind of helpless sitting there watching every game. It’s kind of brutal.”

The injury came just as Jones was starting to heat up. After notching just one goal in his first 18 games, he had recorded seven in his last 22 contests before being knocked out of the lineup.

“I had such a good camp, and then my first few games I struggled a little bit. I kind of got away from the things that were making me successful,” reflected Jones. “Our line was clicking at the time, and just putting shots on net. Every game I was getting three or four shots. The more you have the puck on your stick, the better the chance you have to score.”

Following the injury and subsequent surgery, Jones began hitting the ice in late June. He skated nearly every day from that point until training camp, while also going through a good deal of dry-land training on his own.

“After the injury I couldn’t wait to get back at it,” said Jones. “In Vancouver we have the mountains, so I would run the mountains. I also played a lot of golf. It keeps the mental part of your game sharp. But the shoulder feels really strong, so I think the doctor did a good job of fixing it.”

Because he finished the 2008-09 campaign on such a tear, hopes were high for the third-year forward coming into this year’s training camp. But during camp, the injury bug struck again.

In a Sept. 23 preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings, the winger suffered a chest injury that forced him to miss the final two preseason contests, as well as the first four games of the regular season.

But when he finally got back into the lineup, Jones quickly made up for lost time. After not playing a regular season game in over eight months he exploded out of the gate, totaling five points (2g/3a) in his first three contests of the 2009-10 campaign.

Since that torrid start, the Guelph, Ontario native has been a vital cog on the Avalanche’s front line, averaging over 17 minutes of ice time per game while also playing an important role on the penalty killing unit. Jones has also shown a knack for scoring big goals. He currently leads the club with two short-handed tallies and is tied for the team lead with a pair of game-winners.

Jones’ breakout performance is coming during a year that he admits is a big one in regards to his career. This year’s Avalanche squad has employed a hard-working, up-tempo approach as the organization looks for young players who can step up and be building blocks for the foundation of success, both in the present and moving forward.

So far in 2009-10, Jones is showing through his play that he plans to have a big role in that movement.

“I think they’re definitely looking for some young guys to step up,” said Jones. “We have a lot of young guys that can fill important roles. I think we have a really energetic team with a lot of speed. But it’s a huge year for me. I love playing here and I was happy to get another contract to come here for two more years. I’m really excited to be here.”

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