The Blackhawks’ Seth Jones has no disillusionment with the NHL All-Stars pick

The Blackhawks’ Seth Jones has no disillusionment with the NHL All-Stars pick

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What does Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones think of the NHL rule requiring one player from each team to play in the All-Star Game?

“That’s probably why I was nominated this year,” he replied.

In fact, Jones has no disillusionment as to why he came to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on February 3-4 for his fifth career All-Star appearance. It’s simply because someone had to go from the last few spots in the Hawks.

But for the record, he understands the logic behind the rule, even if it results in many deserving players not receiving invites.

“Before this rule arose, the entire starting lineup was made up of Hawks, inclusive [Corey] Crawford on the net, for the West [in 2015]’ Jones said. “So you could still have situations like that. Let’s say Colorado, you could have easily had that [Mikko] rantans, [Nathan] MacKinnon and [Cale] Makar. It depends. Some guys will lose out 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 Juuse Saros in this year’s Central all-star team form a division, as announced on Thursday.

Three more players in each division will be determined by fan vote in the coming weeks – but there will inevitably be some snubs.

Predators defender Roman Josi, for example, objectively deserves more than Jones, but Saros’ selection ruled him out. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has almost double the points of Ducks all-star forward Troy Terry (60 vs. 32), but Connor McDavid was obviously picked over him.

On the other hand, the NHL’s diverse selection process ensures that all fans heading out to the All-Star Weekend celebrations — 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 play 3v3 hockey in front of a good crowd and show off your skills.”

Jones hinted he would have had more fun if his vacation the previous week – the Hawks’ bye week – hadn’t been “cut short” by his sudden commitments in Florida, but it will be a good sport.

However, he will not use this hollow selection to overdo himself. As usual, he remained self-critical with the balance sheet of his previous season on Friday.

“It was up and down,” he said. “Offensively, I don’t like the numbers I have. And then it was a struggle on the defensive, as a team in general, to keep the puck out of our net. … We didn’t get much O-Zone time as a team this year, so [I’m focusing on] I only use it when I have that time.”

Hawks coach Luke Richardson has noticed Jones’ attitude.

“He’s probably more disappointed than anyone,” Richardson said. “I talked to him [Thursday] and just said, ‘Hey, it’s looking up. You scored last game.’”

Jones started Friday as the 13th NHL defenseman in Ice Age, averaging 24-41 per game, but his results were poor. Not only does he rank 85th in points per minute, but his 41.1% goal odds ratio (five-on-five) places him 172nd out of 185 defenders overall.

That’s a lot more of a Hawks problem than a Jones problem — just as his All-Star selection was due to his teammates’ mediocrity much more than his excellence. But both are nevertheless reality.

“He’s such a good skater that he can throw himself into a rush later [rather] than early,” Richardson said. “[But] Then we turn the puck over and he runs back and now he’s tired. If he does that for 27 minutes, that’s a lot. That affects his game. We just want to bring him back.

“He can’t be the savior for everyone on this team. He just has to play his position, play it well and we have to do our work around him.

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