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One on One with Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones has found a home in Edmonton.(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Ryan Jones has found a home in Edmonton.(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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This week I had the opportunity to have a long talk with former Predator Ryan Jones about his time in Nashville and his career in Edmonton.

Hockey Season is gearing up. Once again ice rinks across the country are being flooded with youngsters for 6 A.M. practices. Though my counterparts in the southern regions of the states probably don't feel it yet, the weather is already beginning to cool here in Ohio.

Miami University, my alma mater, has a long established excellence in NCAA hockey. The hockey program here has produced three Stanley Cup winners, a Hobey Baker winner, and even some Olympians. Last week, teammates, both old and new, gathered at Miami's Goggin Ice Arena to practice together during Miami's Pro Camp. One of the attendees was former Nashville Predator Ryan Jones.

Jones, if you remember, was part of the Nashville Predators organization from 2008-2010. "Junk Man Jones" could never really stick in the lineup at the time as inconsistent play and the organization's depth at his position made it hard for the former CCHA star to find a home in Nashvllle, posting just 28 points in 87 games. Still, many in Nashville fell in love with his blue collar style of play and his flowing hair. Many fans were sad to see him go when the Predators waived him after acquiring Denis Grebeshkov from the Edmonton Oilers in 2010. The Oilers picked Jones off of waivers, and the gritty forward has been with them ever since. Jones certainly has found his niche with the Oilers, posting 59 points in 168 games, including two years with 17 and 18 goals while being a top PKer for Edmonton.

I had a chance to sit down (well stand up) with Ryan Jones a couple of days ago and discuss his career and the time he spent in Nashville.

Me: So would you say your time in Nashville was a positive experience overall, regardless of how it ended?

Jones: "It's always good when you get a chance in the NHL. It was a little bit of a different situation then I am in now. I was constantly battling for a line up spot. I didn't play well enough to garner much confidence from the coaches. While I was there it was just a tough situation. Its hard to do that when you are lacking confidence in your game. I definitely wouldn't change anything it was a fun time and met some great guys. You know it was the start of my carrier basically."

Me: You certainly have seemed to find your confidence in Edmonton.

Jones: "Yeah. It was something the organization was lacking a little of what I brought. I am a power forward who can kill penalties (something Edmonton lacked at the time). I am a guy who can be brought in different situations. That's one thing they voiced to me, versatility is one thing that has kept them wanting me in the organization."

"I didn't get a ton of opportunities when I was in Nashville. When I got to Edmonton, it seemed like they were going to allow me to do whatever I could to earn my ice time. When the chance was given, I was fortunate enough to produce."

Me: Do you still stay in contact with some of the guys in Nashville?

Jones: "Yeah, there's a few guys there I still talk to. Cal's one of them, Hornqvist is another."

Me: Nashville has put some good guys on waivers over the years. Some of us saw your tweet a while back about a fellow waiver victim.

Jones: {Laughing} "Nashville has put some guys on waivers that have gone on to have unbelievable careers. Rich Peverly is one that comes to mind. It's one of those situations where it's not the right fit for one team, but if you can find your niche with another, you can do good things for other clubs."

Me: Would you say Barry Trotz is too hard on young, developing players?

Jones: "I don't know about that. They've had a lot of success and Trotzy's a good coach. It seems like they do go through a lot of young guys, guys that come in and be the next greatest thing and a year or two later they aren't in the organization anymore. For whatever reason, I'm not sure. They have great leadership in the locker room with their older guys, especially Weber back there. He's really what drives that organization. Guys just have to step up and that is one thing I wasn't able to do there."

Me: How is playing in Edmonton different from Nashville?

Jones: "It's obviously different than Nashville. You can walk around everywhere in Nashville and no one recognizes you. You are mainly trying to figure out what country star is next to you at the table half the time. In Edmonton it is the exact opposite. It's pretty cool to be noticed and have the fans come up and talk to you about the game and tell you how much they appreciate what your doing. It's a fun fun place to play hockey, and yeah its kind of cliché but I think Edmonton is the best place in the league to play.

Me: Are you going to start putting requests to the coaches to be on a line with Eberle and Hall?

Jones: {Laughing} "Probably not to start. You just never know. I played with every forward in that lineup last year. Whatever situation I am given for that game I will continue to play the way that I do. I can't control where I am in the lineup. I can only control how I play."

Jones went on to say that he is excited about his season in Edmonton and that they have a good, young core to play around, but it wasn't picked up by the recorder. He also made a pitch for my brother (a high school hockey player in Nashville) to not go to Notre Dame, but instead join the Miami RedHawks.

I would like to thank Jonesy for his time and for doing this interview. The guy is simply an outstanding individual off the ice (can't really speak for on!). I wish he was still a Predator, but I am glad he has found the right place for him to continue his young career. I wish him the best this season.

I hope you enjoyed this piece, I know it isn't strictly Predators related, but it highlights that these guys that we cheer for on the ice really are people just like the rest of us.