What does Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones think of the NHL rule that requires one player from each team to participate in the All-Star Game?
“Maybe that’s why I got nominated this year,” he replied.
Indeed, Jones is not disillusioned as to why he is heading to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on February 3–4 for his fifth career All-Star appearance. It’s only because someone from the last-place Hawks had to go.
But for the record, he understands the reasoning behind the rule, even if it doesn’t lead to invitations for many eligible players.
“Prior to this rule, the entire starting lineup consisted of the Hawks [Corey] Crawford in net for West [in 2015]Jones said. “So you can still have such a situation. say Colorado, you could easily get [Mikko] rantanen, [Nathan] McKinnon and [Cale] Capricorn. depends on. Some people are going to get the short end of the stick every year.
Jones will join Makar, Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey, Stars forward Jason Robertson, Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov, Coyotes forward Clayton Keller, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko and Predators goalie Zeus Saros on this year’s Central Division All-Star team announced Thursday.
Three additional players in each division will be determined by fan vote in the coming weeks – but inevitably, there will be some snubs.
For example, Predators defenseman Roman is objectively more deserving than Josie Jones, but Saros’ selection edged him out. Oilers forward Leon Dressatl has nearly twice as many points as Ducks All-Star forward Troy Terry (60 vs. 32), but Connor McDavid was clearly picked over him.
On the other hand, the NHL’s diverse selection process ensures all fans leading up to the All-Star Weekend festivities — hosted by the Panthers this winter — have someone to root for. There are pros and cons.
“It’s always a fun time,” Jones said. “You get to play three-on-three hockey in front of a good crowd and show off your skills.”
Jones indicated that he would have had more fun if his vacation during the previous week – the Hawks’ bye week – had not been “cut short” by his sudden commitments in Florida, but he would be a good sport about it.
However, he will not use this hollow selection to enhance himself. On Friday, he remained as self-critical as ever while assessing his season so far.
“It’s been up and down,” he said. “Offensively, I don’t like the numbers I have. And then it’s been a struggle defensively, as a team in general, keeping the puck out of our net. … year hasn’t gotten much ‘O’-zone time as a team, so [I’m focusing on] When I have time, I just take advantage of it.
Hawks coach Luke Richardson has taken note of Jones’ attitude.
“He’s probably more frustrated than anybody,” Richardson said. “I talked to him [Thursday] And just said, ‘Hey, it’s looking up. You scored the last game.'”
Jones entered Friday ranked 13th among NHL defensemen in ice time, averaging 24:41 per game, but his results have been poor. Not only does he rank 85th in points per minute, but his 41.1% scoring-chance ratio (on five-on-five) ranks 172nd out of 185 defensemen overall.
The Hawks’ problem is much more of a problem than Jones’ – just as his All-Star selection was much more due to the mediocrity of his teammates than to his excellence. But still both are reality.
“He’s such a good skater that he might join the crowd after [rather] than before,” Richardson said. ,[But] Then we turn the puck over, and he’s running backwards and now he’s tired. If he does that for 27 minutes…that’s a lot. This affects his game. We just want to bring him back.
“He can’t be the keeper for everyone on this team. He just has to play his spot, play it well, and we have to work our way around him.”
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