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Blogging with Ryan Jones

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
Preds rookie forward Ryan Jones will be blogging for this season. Check back throughout the season for his insights and thoughts on the team, his rookie season, road trips in the NHL – pretty much his regular routine as he adjusts from college to life in the pros.

October Entries: 9 | 15 | 22 | 26 | 29
November Entries: 10

November 10
The team is in San Jose and we have some down time so I thought it would be a good time to catch up.

The start of the road trip hasn’t been as successful as we had hoped. However, the team has been working hard. We just needed a bounce to go our way here or there, which would have lead to a different outcome in those last two games.

Practices have been going well. Our main focus is on staying sound in our systems and sharp around the net.

As far as the trip outside of hockey goes, it has been a scenic trip. Before the trip, Vancouver was the only city that I had previously visited, so it is nice to get to see the rest. I have family in Vancouver so I got a chance to walk the sea wall of downtown Vancouver, as well as some other nice scenery. I would have to say that San Jose has been the nicest city that we have been to so far. It has some great places to eat and shop right along the hotel and has a great mountain backdrop in all angles.

The nights consist of watching movies and hanging out with the roommate (Pekka Rinne). We saw “Love Guru” and “Step Brothers” recently, both of which were pretty funny. There isn’t as much down time on the road as people would think (traveling from city-to-city and running to-and-from the rink for practices and games), but when we do get some it is nice to get a good meal in or just relax.

San Jose is the next opponent up followed up by a swing down to Southern California. I’ll check back in when we get back to Nashville. Wish us luck!

Jonesy 28

October 29
Just got back last night from our road trip to Washington. Wish we would have won the game, but good to at least get a point there on the road.

The trip was pretty interesting. We had a bit of a rough flight up there; had a bunch of turbulence. In the back of the plane we play cards, so I sit on a little almost like a cooler. So when we’re bouncing around, the cooler is sliding around. Not fun.

I thought I was a good flyer, but not so much. I have bad ears, so when we get into a rough ride, my ears are going crazy. It’s been not bad. I don’t want to be in a plane for a long trip, but I’ll take it over the 16 hour bus rides like we’d sometimes have in college.

We had a little different game day up there. Instead of a morning skate we took a team bus tour of D.C. and all the monuments and sites in the city. It was pretty fun. I wasn’t overly excited about it at first. Once we got out and started to see some of the monuments and the things you see in movies all the time, it got pretty exciting. We went up to the Lincoln Memorial, which was pretty cool. I never realized how huge it was. Snapped a few pictures and sent it to the buddies. It was fun; they were a little jealous because they’ve never been there.

Check out the photo gallery of our tour.

October 26
Another exciting "milestone" last night; scored my first goal at home. It was kind of the typical goal that I would expect to score in the NHL from here on out -- a rebound goal from in close.

(Patric) Hornqvist made a good play to put the puck to the front of the net. I thought Leggy’s (David Legwand) shot went in the net, but their goalie made a good save; went back out, kind of a second rebound goal.

But it was really exciting to get to score in front of the home crowd; hear people cheer for you. It was pretty sweet to hear my name announced in arena for a goal.

October 22
Back here with my latest blog entry. A lot has happened since I last wrote.

After sitting out for two games, I got back into the lineup last Wednesday at Dallas and was able to get my first NHL points, including my first career goal. It was pretty exciting. I wish it would have come in a game we had won, but it’s nice to see that you can contribute to the game. It went a long way to building my confidence … especially coming in after that first game where I was so nervous. It’s good to go from a game like that to scoring a goal, getting a couple of points. You realize you can play at the NHL level.

I realize that I can play with these guys and that my style suits the NHL game. It seems strange to say, but that one goal did a lot to boost my confidence. Plus, it’s a dream come true as a kid growing up, in the backyard playing hockey, you’re saying you’re going to be in the NHL scoring a goal, and then being out on the ice with it happening, it was almost surreal. It’s kicked in a little bit, but I still don’t think I realize what it means until I get some more time to think about it. We’ve been on the go so much here at the start of the season; Saturday was our sixth game in the first nine days of the season.

As much as I want to be in the lineup all the time, get a chance to help the team every game, sitting and watching those two games actually helped me, I think. It did a lot to be able to sit there and watch the game, analyze, break things down, be around the team and prepare to play on those days. Those couple of days helped to build that routine, build my confidence in practice, and I was able to watch the game to pick out certain things. I really watched the guys on the left wing to see where they were positionally, so when I got the chance to get back in the lineup I was set in my mind. Instead of thinking the whole time, things are becoming more of a reaction now.

People ask me all the time about the transition from college to pro hockey. The busy schedule has been fun, playing all these games. And the good thing about college is even though you only play two games and then practice for five days, the practices are extremely intense. Unless you’ve been through them, it’s hard to really understand how intense those practices can get; you’re battling every single day and its “game like” – sometimes almost even more than game like. Every once in a while the intensity gets so high a fight or two will break out in practice. So I think college does an excellent job of preparing you for the next level.

This couple of day break from games has been nice, though. We had our Community Day on Monday; I was out reading to kids at East Academy ( I've got proof here ). And then later in the night we had a team Halloween Party – not allowed to fill you in on more details, team code and all, but there were some good costumes.

So it’s been a busy last week. Now we’re getting ready to get back to action here with games both Thursday and Saturday and then a trip to Washington early next week. I’ll probably check back in after we get back from D.C.

October 15
It's been an interesting week so far. I made my NHL debut last Friday at St. Louis. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty nerve wracking. The exhibition games were a little slower paced. But it was exciting to play in a NHL game. That's something I'll always have to remember. I wish we could have won, though. We got off to a good start, but just didn't finish the game off. I made a few mistakes along the wall in that game -- being a deer in the headlights. But we've been working on stuff in practice. I should be back in the line-up again tonight and so far things have been easier for me. I'm excited to get back in there. We've had a couple of nice wins the past two games; I want to chip in and do my part to keep things going.

My parents came down from Ontario to watch me play. They were in St. Louis for our Season Opener and then drove from St. Louis to Nashville for our game on Saturday night. It's been nice having them around. My dad put so much effort into my hockey career, so it's been nice to show him how all of his hard work paid off. I'm sure he was one of the happiest hockey dad's in the arena both nights!

And I got a chance to spend a little bit of time with them while they were around. Time was tight with the back-to-back games and then our flight out on Sunday for this road trip. I still found a little time to take them on a quick tour of the area. We drove through downtown and couple other areas; I just wanted to show them the area a little. We didn't get a chance to go in anywhere, but we'll save that for their next visit.

October 9
Opening Night tomorrow; we’re getting ready to fly out to St. Louis in a few minutes, so thought I’d get things rolling now.

It’s extremely exciting to make the team out of camp, though. As a kid, I grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL. I know I’m just entering my first pro season, but I was thinking the other day about how long I’ve been working to get to this point; I’ve been playing hockey competitively for 19, 20 years. After all those games, practices, early mornings, now I start a new journey in the NHL.

I’m now competing against guys that I used to watch on TV. When I first moved down to Nashville I was living at Arny’s (Jason Arnott) house which was quite surreal for the first little while. But the more I’ve been around him and the rest of the guys, to realize how humble they are here and what a great group of guys we have here, it’s made the transition a lot easier.

Training camp was pretty demanding, but all the veteran guys made it a lot easier on me; made the transition off the ice go smoothly so I was able to concentrate more on my play on the ice. I knew coming in to Camp, one of the questions was whether or not I was going to be able to play so many games in such a short period of time. In College you only play two games on the weekend and then you get five days to rest. The coaches threw me in the first five games in six days, so that was a test right at the start. You get in the cold tub a little more when you play the games that close together. You have to eat right, too. You find that your life revolves strictly around hockey – but that comes with being in the pro ranks.

But to make the team right out of Training Camp was a thrill. Coach Trotz was the one to break the news to me. I was working out last Thursday. He said he wanted to talk to me and we started walking down the hallway toward his office; I was a little worried as we were walking.

His office was in use, so he took me into the equipment storage room. I remember thinking at the time, “please don’t send me down to Milwaukee from an equipment storage room.”

But he told me that he was happy to tell me that they were giving me the opportunity to find a place to live down here and be on the roster. I was kind of speechless for a little while. Then I ran out and called my dad right away, because he’s been a huge part of my hockey career; waking up and taking me to rinks in the mornings and stuff. It was good to get to tell him the good news.

Thanks for reading my blog. It’s something new that I’m trying this year. Hope you enjoy.

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