CATCHING UP WITH JONES

Jason Gregor
July 15 2013 12:15PM

I can't confirm if Ryan Jones celebrated like this when he signed a one-year deal with the Oilers last week, but the 29-year-old was excited he's returning to Edmonton. Jones, like most of his teammates, has something to prove to his new coach and GM, and he is looking forward to the challenge.

Last week, Jones came on my radio show and we discussed his return to the Oilers, learning to become a competitive team and the bottom six becoming a productive group. The paragraphs in italics are my thoughts/comments.

Jason Gregor: Have you written the NHL, about overlooking John Tonelli for the Hall of Fame?

Ryan Jones: (laughs) I haven’t. I’m not sure that he’s quite hall material, but I’m a little shocked that he hasn’t even gotten a sniff in his time. I mean he’s put up good numbers. He’s won just about every level that he can, and he’s my cousin so, what else do you need?

Gregor: It’s true, 325 goals and almost 900 points, won 4 cups and was great for Canada in the Canada Cup.

Jones: It’s true. I think he’s got another 140 playoff games with probably 90 points mixed in there.

Gregor: Not bad. Did he teach you any hockey skills at a young age?

Jones: He didn’t, but I got to watch him a lot. I watched him when he was on Chicago, [Jeremy] Roenick was young then. Michel Goulet was there, Goulet was my brother’s favourite player. I did see him a little bit in L.A. and then he went to Quebec, retired in Quebec. Then the next year they won the cup. So he missed a few cups. Two finals, one with Calgary and one with L.A. so, he’s a winner.

Gregor: Your brother’s favourite player was Goulet, who was yours?

Jones: I was always a big Joe Sakic fan. I don’t know what it is; we played so similar I guess. That must have been why.

Gregor: Was Marty Reasoner your favourite player? He was compared to Joe Sakic once.

Jones: (laughs) It was Jason Strudwick and Joe Sakic. Those were my two favourite players growing up.

Gregor: Those are opposite ends of the spectrum. Strudwick was better in the shootout though, I’m sure that he’s told you that.

Jones: Oh for sure, almost every day!

Gregor: At the end of the year you talked about wanting to come back to Edmonton. You tested the free agency market for a bit, were you close to going anywhere else?

Jones: Um, I don’t know if I would say close to going anywhere else. There were teams that made the decision difficult. But ultimately I think that I expressed all along that I wanted to be back in Edmonton. I guess it took MacT a day to see what else was out there and ultimately it just led to me being back.

Gregor: Do you feel that because of your eye injury last year you have to prove you can go back to being a guy who scored 15, 17, 18 goals?

Jones: A little bit. Well not a little bit, yeah I definitely do. There are a lot of questions about whether the injury would have a lasting impact on my career and they’re very valid questions due to the severity of the injury. But it’s just something that takes time to get over.

When I got back to playing the shortened season, it was fresh. I played seven weeks after major eye surgery. You take a little time and you let your body and your mind adjust to what is now normal. I feel great now and I’m excited to come back, and I’m motivated.

*** I don't see the Oilers winning consistently with only skilled players in their top-six. You need to mix in some complementary players to play with the skilled players. The Blackhawks are the best example. They have four great top-six forwards, Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa and then they mix in guys around them. If I'm Eakins I'd playJones, or someone like him, at least 20 or so games within the top two lines.***

BOTTOM SIX...

Gregor: Craig MacTavish didn’t have a very glowing report of his bottom six forwards, saying “some of them at best were a non-factor.” Will the players within that group want to prove their GM wrong?

Jones: Well I’m not sure about that. I think that the motivation from the bottom six, at least from what I’ve seen, is to know that you’re needed to win hockey games. And I’ve mentioned this before, you look around at the Stanley Cup finals and there was no one player that dominated for Chicago. [Bryan] Bickell had a great playoff series. So did [Brandon] Saad, [Patrick] Kane had a game with three goals [Jonathan] Toews was his usual self, he was solid all over the ice.

You can’t honestly say that one guy on that team, or even two guys on that team won the cup for them. It was top to bottom, everyone chipped in. That’s what we need, and I think that as a bottom six we need to take as much pride as our skilled guys do in being able to contribute in order to win hockey games.

Gregor: You mentioned when you came over from Nashville, that the Oilers locker room at the time wasn’t a very positive dressing room. What do you do to ensure that this team doesn’t mirror that and that you guys start to win and become more of a competent group?

Jones: Well I think that there are very different personalities in the locker room right now than there was back then. A lot of the guys that were in the room at that time, they had lost for a couple of years. It was starting to wear on them, you could tell. I think that with the young energy that we have in the room, and the excitement that they bring to the game, it’s enjoyable to come to the rink.

Guys around the locker room have a lot of fun, we feel the tension from the fans and from everybody wanting us to win and that’s something that we in the room want to do as well. I just think that as we mature and we learn to win hockey games, not saying that we haven’t in the past couple of years, you’ll see a lot more success for sure.

***The young players have an upbeat attitude, which is great, but now the entire team needs a more competitive attitude. Players need to challenge each other to play equally hard. Great leadership comes from those who battle hard every game and then expect their teammates to do the same. Look for Andrew Ference to be a leader in this department, and it is why I won't be shocked if he is named captain.***

Gregor: Are you more comfortable on right wing or left wing, does it matter?

Jones: It doesn’t really matter. When Tom [Renney] was the coach I was right wing, when Ralph [Kreuger] was the coach I was left and right wing and pressbox and everything else. I’m pretty sure I’m comfortable on both sides. Surprised I didn’t play centre last year.

Gregor: Can you win a faceoff?

Jones: The funny thing is that I remember in my second game, the game that I scored my first goal, after I had scored my goal I was taking a faceoff against Mike Modano in Dallas at the far end. I know the exact dot and I beat him. So, that is almost even a bigger highlight than scoring my first goal that game.

Gregor: Do you remember some bad losses as well?

Jones: I think that if you look up the statistics I somewhere from 18-19% faceoff guy, maybe even a bit lower. I take maybe one every three weeks? So it’s tough. Those guys are good in the faceoff. I think maybe I’m going to start pushing forward and let the guys come in behind me.

Gregor: Speaking of faceoffs, the onus can’t just be on the centremen. Collectively do the wingers need to be better , especially considering your centres aren’t as physically mature or just don’t have the savvy of other teams?

Jones: I think that when you go out for a faceoff, and this is something that I do for myself, as soon as you get out for the faceoff dot you have to be right into it. You don’t know where it’s going to go and you have to be ready to help your centremen out. That’s something that Horc [Shawn Horcoff] always talked to me about. He was like ‘Just be ready. I don’t know where it will go, everybody’s good at faceoffs, it could squirt out to the side, and everybody has to be willing to battle against whoever it is.’

If you’re the net front guy, it’s always against the D, if you’re the winger on the boards it’s always against the D that’s going to go back and get the puck, so as the guy on the boards you have a little bit of an advantage because that D’s always trying to take a first step back.

I think that you’re completely right when you think of faceoff percentage everybody always thinks ‘well this centre is only 40%’ but there’s not many guys that just snap pucks back right away, there are very, very few. I think a lot of the faceoff percent has to do with who’s on their wings and whether or not they’re willing and able to get in and battle for the puck.

***The Oilers have to improve their faceoffs, and it has to be more than just the centres. Of course Gagner and Nugen-Hopkins need to improve, but I believe attention to detail has to be Eakins main focus this year. The Oilers need to improve in many of the small areas, before they become better in the easily noticeable areas. Losing battles on faceoffs has plagued this team for the past five years. Much of that is sheer determination and desire. The coach has to demand accountability in this area.***

Gregor: Have you had a chance to speak to your new head coach, and what have you heard about Eakins?

Jones: I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet. I’m assuming that conversation will be coming very soon. Just from what I’ve heard, he’s a demanding coach, a man who respects his players and wants the same from them. He’s big into fitness which is good because legs feed the wolves. So that’s a good attribute to have from a coach.

I like to think that he’s an extension of MacT. I’ve heard that he’s a man of his words and when he says something he’s going to follow through with it.

So those are the coaches that you like because you know exactly where you stand at all times, you’re not sitting around wondering ‘I wonder if he likes me’ if you had a bad game or whatever. Pretty sure you’re going to know right away.

NEW CAPTAIN....

Gregor: Shawn Horcoff was traded recently so there is a vacancy for the captain. How does it impact guys in the room who gets the captaincy? Does it play a big factor?

Jones: A little bit, I’m not sure when it comes to this level of hockey, it’s beyond the political stuff that usually goes into it. When you’re a little kid, it’s usually your dad who gives you the C. When you get a letter in the NHL you usually deserve it. You’ve proven that you can be a leader and that you’re a guy that leads by example and that’s the biggest thing. It’s not so much what the guys are going to say in the locker room because most guys around the room, they know what’s going on at all circumstances.

And that’s something that Horc was good about. When something needed to be said, he said it. But other than that, and he didn’t get a lot of credit for it, but he was the hardest working guy off of the ice and on the ice most nights and that’s exactly what you expect out of a captain and leader.

*** I know many want Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle to be the next captain, and one of them could be, but is now the right time? Hall has matured a lot the past few seasons, on and off the ice, and he'd gladly accept the challenge. Eberle is well respected within the room and he's more vocal than people realize, and he'd love the responsibility. Eakins might want to give them the "C," to illustrate a new era with the team, but I believe Ference will receive significant consideration. He wore a letter on a Cup contending team the past few years, so he'd be an obvious choice.***

Gregor: Is it too simple to state that the Edmonton Oilers have a lot of talent and now it’s just a matter of matching that talent with a consistent work ethic and a desire to be competitive every game?. Is that what your team needs to learn the most?

Jones: It’s weird and maybe a little cliché to say that you need to learn to win, and I know that I’ve mentioned it before, but there is an education that goes into winning hockey games. You see it with the teams that have won a lot.  Take Chicago for example; at the start of the year when they went on that long streak, they were winning a lot of games the exact same way. There was a couple of games where they went in and it was 7-2, 7-1 hockey games, but how many games was it 1-0 going into the last two minutes and they somehow found a way to score goals and then won in overtime and won in the shootout.

That team is confident in their abilities and they know how to win and they’ve learned how to win. That is something that we need to do. We need to be confident in our ability, individually, as a team, to know that no matter what the circumstances are we have a chance to be in every single hockey game. I think that once that confidence is there that we’ll take a big turn and hopefully it starts right at the start of this season.

Gregor: MacTavish, Eakins, a lot of players have talked about becoming a harder team to play against, and not with fisticuffs or big bruising hits. I’ve had Andrew Ference and Horcoff on the show recently and they both said, ‘The guys that you hated playing against are the guys who just never quit.’ Does this team have to be harder to play against and if so, how do you do it?

Jones: I think for sure we have to be harder to play against. One thing that you mentioned is the fighting, it’s going to be out of the game soon whether people like it or not. It’s slowly dwindling away and now all of the sudden these faceoff fights, people want to get rid of these faceoff fights. It’s just; it’s naturally found a way to be out of the game. I know that certain fans love it, and I get a ton of grief on Twitter about not fighting all of the time, it’s just there are certain times to do it and certain times not to do it and we have guys on the team that are very very capable of beating the snot out of other guys. Brown is one willing combatant as tough as nails and he knows the proper time to do it.

But outside of that, I think that you’re exactly right, I think of guys that are tough to play against and I’m with Ference and Horc, it’s always guys who no matter what the circumstances are, they never give up. You take the puck from them or you knock them down and you beat them and you think ‘well that guys out of there’ and he comes back and he’s giving you a bump trying to take it back from you. Those are the guys that are hard to play against, not the guys who are trying to take a run at somebody every time because ¾ of the time you don’t get hit anyways.

***The Oilers haven't been hard to play against for years. It would be great to add some size and grit in their top-six, but even if they don't, the guys who play the most minutes need to become harder to play against. Datsyuk, Toews, Crosby are incredibly hard to play against because of their skill, but mainly because of their work ethic. They do more than just produce points. The Oilers blueline has to become tougher in front of the net, on the boards and in battles for loose pucks. Every team has skilled players in their top-six forwards and top-four D-men, and the Oilers can't expect to just win on skill. They need more desperation in their overall game.***

Gregor: Is that just a mentality, because obviously you guys have speed to skate with any team in the league. Does it just come down to having the desire and willingness to match the competitiveness of your competition?

Jones: That’s exactly what it is. I mean there’s the willingness and the want to win a battle, to win a race, to get to a loose puck, that’s 99.9% of the time the person who is more willing, you know who’s going to win the battle.

I’ve heard the saying before ’99.9% of the time the guy who is willing to die isn’t going to die.’ So it’s kind of the same thing. The person who is willing to do anything possible to win that battle will win it.

Gregor: Is that something that takes time to learn? A lot of your teammates were dominant at the lower levels, so they must have had that willingness then, or is it an even higher level when playing against the best of the best?

Jones: I think people underestimate the level of compete and the level of play in the NHL if they think it’s easy. I mean a lot of players have success in the American League and never make it to the NHL. A lot of guys have success in the WHL and never make it to the NHL. When you get here you’re competing against the most skilled, the best and the most driven. It’s something that until you’re in the situation, until you see someone and you are actually in a battle and lose a battle, you never know what it takes.

 I’ve always paid attention to what fans say and it’s unbelievable how easy some people think that the NHL game is.

Gregor:  You mean it’s a little bit harder than we think?

Jones: I always love ‘why didn’t you do this at this time?’ Well I was probably trying to do that, but there was another guy that was trying to stop me from doing it and sometimes it just doesn’t work the way that both you and I want it to. If it was I would have eight Stanley Cups right now.

Gregor:  (laughs) If it was only that easy. Do you plan on hunting again this fall?

Jones: I do, and I mean that’s one thing that I’m passionate about; hockey and hunting. Hunting to me is kind of a getaway from the hectic life that hockey brings. When you get to go and just sit there in the tree stand or wherever it’s just quiet. You don’t have to think about the stress that comes with the job and then when you leave the field you’re kind of back to reality. It’s just a nice little escape whether or not you’re fortunate enough to harvest anything.

Plus everybody in the locker room loves deer jerky and I never hear the end of it if I don’t bring any in. So I have to go hunting or I’m not going to have any friends in the locker room. You should see Louie DeBrusk eat that stuff. (Laughs) He might eat the wrapper too; I have to take it off of the jerky so that he doesn’t just swallow the whole thing.

PARTING SHOTS

  • The NHL hasn't released the arbitration hearing dates yet, but they are scheduled between July 22nd and August 6th. Sam Gagner filed for arbitration, but I don't think Oiler fans should be concerned.
     
  • Just because Ilya Kovalchuk got home sick, doesn't mean Nail Yakupov will. They are completely different people and different situations. Yakupov chose to play in the CHL for two years before being drafted. He likes it in Canada, and his family lived in Edmonton last season. It is premature to believe Yakupov has any intentions of following in Kovalchuk's footsteps.
     
  • I didn't understand the Eskimos game plan on Saturday. It was pouring rain for the first three quarters, yet the Eskimos came out throwing the ball despite Fred Stamps, their best receiver, not playing. Why not run the ball, especially when Hugh Charles is your most dangerous weapon? Without Stamps and Adarius Bowman the Eskimos don't have much speed in their receiving corps. The Esks led the entire first half, but kept throwing the ball. The play calling was perplexing, and mostly infuriating.
     
  • The Open Championship (British Open) is this weekend. Tiger Woods has gone 20 majors without a victory. Jack Nicklaus' longest drought was also 20, but that was at the end of his career. Nicklaus won his 17th major, 1980 PGA Championship, and then won his 18th (last of his career) at the Masters in 1986. His 2nd longest drought was 12 majors between the 1967 US Open and 1970 Open Championship. I've said for years I didn't think Woods would pass Nicklaus' 18 majors, and it looks more unlikely as each major passes by. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 oliveoilers
July 15 2013, 12:25PM
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For some reason, my wife's favourite player.

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#2 LinkfromHyrule
July 15 2013, 12:35PM
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Ryan Jones is definitely a guy I would have a beer with. I also think he will have a rebound year this year. Still don't understand why people despise him so much as a player

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#3 A-Mc
July 15 2013, 12:54PM
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I was thinking there would be something new or different but it's almost all information i've consumed!

anyway... GO JONESY!

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#4 swindle
July 15 2013, 12:57PM
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oliveoilers wrote:

For some reason, my wife's favourite player.

My buddy Dan is going to hate this signing. His wife refers to Jones as "her boyfriend".

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#5 MSG
July 15 2013, 12:58PM
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@oliveoilers

...........my ginfriends favorite player as well, hmmmmmm.....

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Run game comes up a lot with the Esks. Even when they have found success with the run game this team seems to find a way to take it right out and go back to a pass game.

Charles should've had double the touches Saturday.

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Good old faceoffs.

Every year same crap. Are they ever going to learn? It just baffles me that we see little to no progress in this department. Although it's not like management has really learned either. Really hope if this is an issue this year that MacT addresses it sooner rather than later.

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#8 swindle
July 15 2013, 01:10PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Good old faceoffs.

Every year same crap. Are they ever going to learn? It just baffles me that we see little to no progress in this department. Although it's not like management has really learned either. Really hope if this is an issue this year that MacT addresses it sooner rather than later.

According to Mactavish he is done making moves:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/07/14/oilers-gm-craig-mactavish-is-reasonably-comfortable-with-depth-on-oilers-now/

So the Oilers will either enter the season with two or three (if Gagner signs) and only one is good at draws.

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swindle wrote:

According to Mactavish he is done making moves:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/07/14/oilers-gm-craig-mactavish-is-reasonably-comfortable-with-depth-on-oilers-now/

So the Oilers will either enter the season with two or three (if Gagner signs) and only one is good at draws.

Whether he is done or not wasn't my comment. My comment is if come November we are having problem down the middle that maybe we should pick up some of those guys that go on waivers or that get dealt for 7th rounders.

If we have to have 2 4th line wingers playing #3C and #4 center in the same game it's a fail.

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#10 Czar
July 15 2013, 01:16PM
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Great job again Gregor,I enjoyed that interview almost as much as deer jerky.

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#11 Hayek
July 15 2013, 01:20PM
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Jones seems like a great guy, but seeing him 20 games on the top 6 would mean this team is in a world of hurt. If the team wants to be successful hopefully he plays the bulk of the year on the 4th line as opposed to the 3rd. Also hope he is off the PK completely as he seems to be ineffective and cheats leaving the zone early at a level that is far from optimal.

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#12 The Heist
July 15 2013, 01:35PM
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@Hayek

I respectfully disagree, I think throwing Jones into a top 6 role as kind of a crash and banger guy with a net presence would be great, at least a great experiment. Kinda like the guy we wanted eager to be when we acquired him.

I believe you need someone in front of that net, like a new age Smyth. Not to be confused with newagesys. A guy who's quick, willing to grind and plays with a heart that no one could question. Would you prefer Hopkins/gagner battling in front of the net and eberle having to score greasy goals from around the paint or Jones? Yes I know Jones isn't center, I'm referring to a zone setup, Jones in front of net.

While I can't honestly comment on Jones"cheating" offensively, I can't even count how many times EV and PK that guy would poke the puck off the D or chip it by and have a huge break and generate a chance. You need guys like that. May not have the best hands or be a pure shooter or playmaker but he's got heart, grit and size and underrated speed imo.

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#13 Hayek
July 15 2013, 02:06PM
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The Heist wrote:

I respectfully disagree, I think throwing Jones into a top 6 role as kind of a crash and banger guy with a net presence would be great, at least a great experiment. Kinda like the guy we wanted eager to be when we acquired him.

I believe you need someone in front of that net, like a new age Smyth. Not to be confused with newagesys. A guy who's quick, willing to grind and plays with a heart that no one could question. Would you prefer Hopkins/gagner battling in front of the net and eberle having to score greasy goals from around the paint or Jones? Yes I know Jones isn't center, I'm referring to a zone setup, Jones in front of net.

While I can't honestly comment on Jones"cheating" offensively, I can't even count how many times EV and PK that guy would poke the puck off the D or chip it by and have a huge break and generate a chance. You need guys like that. May not have the best hands or be a pure shooter or playmaker but he's got heart, grit and size and underrated speed imo.

"Crash and banger" is just a term used for those who lack skill. Jones actually does have skill though, and puts up some decent numbers offensively. However he does this by cheating, and being irresponsible defensively. He isn't talented enough to be on the top 6, and him there instead of a a Hemsky or Perron means Jones is taking ice time away from a player who contributes more to outscoring the opposition.

Jones isn't particularly good in the corners, or cycle and am confused why you would think otherwise. Most of his offence comes from the rush, or from rebounds.

If Jones wasn't such a likeable person, I think more would question if he should even be on the team, and whether he is far above a replacement level player on an NHL roster.

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#14 Tikkanese
July 15 2013, 02:13PM
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I'm sorry but Jones play in the top 6? We have enough soft players there already and they at least have hands. Not sure what you think he will bring that is different. I would even say that Hall and Yak play harder than Jones does, maybe even Perron but I'm not that familiar with his game. Jones is ok for the greasy goals but he isn't exactly going to open up the ice for anyone. Though given the current roster there really isn't much better options...

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#15 Tikkanese
July 15 2013, 02:16PM
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The Heist wrote:

I respectfully disagree, I think throwing Jones into a top 6 role as kind of a crash and banger guy with a net presence would be great, at least a great experiment. Kinda like the guy we wanted eager to be when we acquired him.

I believe you need someone in front of that net, like a new age Smyth. Not to be confused with newagesys. A guy who's quick, willing to grind and plays with a heart that no one could question. Would you prefer Hopkins/gagner battling in front of the net and eberle having to score greasy goals from around the paint or Jones? Yes I know Jones isn't center, I'm referring to a zone setup, Jones in front of net.

While I can't honestly comment on Jones"cheating" offensively, I can't even count how many times EV and PK that guy would poke the puck off the D or chip it by and have a huge break and generate a chance. You need guys like that. May not have the best hands or be a pure shooter or playmaker but he's got heart, grit and size and underrated speed imo.

If Jones "crash and banged" then I would agree. Jones is not a crash and banger type player, never has been.

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#16 The Heist
July 15 2013, 02:22PM
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@Hayek

I hear what your saying Hayek. Though a fair portion of his season high in goals were scored right around the net, most of them greasy. But it took the determination to score them.

Would bickell have been "skilled enough" to play in the top 6 prior to this season. I'm gonna say no.

And further, the ice time that Jones takes away could be used on lesser competition if you will.

And I only said crash and banger cause on a top 6 with nuge eberle gagner etc. He would be that guy. I didn't mean like brown.

Anyways, he isn't a master at the cycle game, but if he battled hard in front of the net, forechecked hard, and wore down the opposition I'd say its a great start. Who knows, maybe this new opportunity compounded with his motivation to prove nay sayers wrong about his eye is just what he needs to prove himself as a possible bickell-like type. A dream, perhaps. But I don't doubt his heart that's for sure.a good start anyday for that winning culture.

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#17 David S
July 15 2013, 02:25PM
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I am still freaked out Salma Hayek posts on the boards. I mean, is she hot or what?

Wait a minute.

*Smoke bomb*

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#18 The Heist
July 15 2013, 02:29PM
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@Tikkanese

That's not the point I was trying to make. Jones doesn't need to level people to be successful. I just meant being a grinder, being that workhorse guy.

And if you disagree that this guy couldn't slightly augment his game to a new role then you'll probably never like Jones. He's fairly versatile and willing to do what it takes to help his team. Even before last season when he was told his ice time was going to drop to make way for the kids, he said no problems, ill do what I can. And he would've, except for the eye injury. I can't believe how quick some oilers fans turn on a guy.

I'm fully aware he isn't an offensive dynamo, but he adds those off paper intangibles you need. Anyways, its just my opinion, not saying you guys are wrong. I think we all want him to succeed.

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#19 Fresh Mess
July 15 2013, 02:41PM
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Wicked guitarist. I enjoyed his work with the White Stripes.

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#20 Oil72
July 15 2013, 02:57PM
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Jason, I'm also dumbfounded by the Esks offensive game plan on Saturday. Travis Lulay and Jacques Chapdelaine definitely had things figured out by the third quarter. Mike Reilly is learning on the job - he needs more help from coach Sams and his offensive line.

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#21 Smokey
July 15 2013, 02:59PM
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A team with Jones anywhere the top 6 is not a playoff team. Should be a 3rd line call-up. Also why did we pay 1.5. Beniot Pouliot a better 3rd line option went for 1.3. I hope we are look at Raymond.

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#22 Oil72
July 15 2013, 03:01PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Run game comes up a lot with the Esks. Even when they have found success with the run game this team seems to find a way to take it right out and go back to a pass game.

Charles should've had double the touches Saturday.

Agreed! I think Charles had 10 and White had 3 maybe. No screen passes to speak of either.

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#23 Jamie B.
July 15 2013, 03:52PM
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I really dislike when teams give the C to brand new guys. I understand Ference's experience but he's never even played a game with the Oilers. Not the right choice. If they do give it to someone like Hall, I'd assume Ference gets an A. I could live with that.

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#24 Josh G
July 15 2013, 03:53PM
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Ryan Jones isn't good at hockey though. total waste of a roster spot

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#25 Tikkanese
July 15 2013, 04:15PM
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@The Heist

I think we've all been hoping Jones turns into that player as he is a likeable guy. I just don't see it happening.

He's basically been pretty soft since he's been here, almost never throws his weight around, is cherry picking looking for the breakaway pass a lot more than he should be doing, is OK at penalty killing, scores the odd greasy goal and rare breakaway goal(I would venture to guess at a very poor goal per breakaway rate).

He's a good depth guy, I'm not mad at the signing, just saying we've been hoping for to long that there is more to his game than there is. Top 6 player he is not, top 9 is almost a stretch at this point. I hope he proves me wrong.

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#26 mouthbreather
July 15 2013, 04:47PM
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swindle wrote:

My buddy Dan is going to hate this signing. His wife refers to Jones as "her boyfriend".

my 72 yr old mom calls him her boyfriend too. It used to be Smitty though.

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#27 Wäx Män Riley
July 15 2013, 05:22PM
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@The Heist

He can also score on a breakaway

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#28 Reg Dunlop
July 15 2013, 05:40PM
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Hayek wrote:

Jones seems like a great guy, but seeing him 20 games on the top 6 would mean this team is in a world of hurt. If the team wants to be successful hopefully he plays the bulk of the year on the 4th line as opposed to the 3rd. Also hope he is off the PK completely as he seems to be ineffective and cheats leaving the zone early at a level that is far from optimal.

Ryan Jones would be a great addition to a non-contact beer league team. He is doubtless a great guy but I must go one further: he could be a call-up for 4th line duty but really he should not be in the league. Anyone remember 'waiver pick-up'? He is the new Buchberger. If not for the good grace of the Oilers he would be a career AHLer. Maybe he will replace Bucky as assistant coach in 10 years. He probably hopes fighting in hockey is banned as he apologizes if he bumps into anyone. Creamy, gooey soft player. But a good guy. My queer neighbor refers to Ryan as his 'squeeze'. He also likes Broadway musicals and 'The View'.

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#29 toprightcorner
July 15 2013, 06:10PM
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Josh G wrote:

Ryan Jones isn't good at hockey though. total waste of a roster spot

~your right, 17 and 18 goals in last two full seasons, he should just give up the game!~

These players scored fewer goals than Jones in 2011-2012 - H.Sedin, Briere, Stewart, Steen, Plekanec, Vermette, Ott, Amnisimov, Morrow, Brassard, Wheeler, Stephan, Clowe, Roy, Backstrom, Ryser, Erat, Brower, Fillpula, Voracek, Krejci, Simmonds, Zajac, O'Rielly, Clarkson.

I am not saying there are not better options for a third liner out there but Jones can add a lot to this team. He has the ability to move up a line in a pinch without being lost, he can score more than most 3rd liners out there, he is a fairly good penalty killer, not including last year he was one of the better guys that compete on the team, but I will give a guy a break when he just about loses sight in one eye.

If he can compete every night, stay hard on the forcheck and chip in 15+ goals then he will be a good 3rd liner. The problem is we need someone of equal or better quality on the other wing and I don't know if Joensuu can handle that position as he has never killed a penalty in the NHL. I am much more concerned about the other winger on that line then Jones being on that line.

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#30 GVBlackhawk
July 15 2013, 06:19PM
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Hayek wrote:

Jones seems like a great guy, but seeing him 20 games on the top 6 would mean this team is in a world of hurt. If the team wants to be successful hopefully he plays the bulk of the year on the 4th line as opposed to the 3rd. Also hope he is off the PK completely as he seems to be ineffective and cheats leaving the zone early at a level that is far from optimal.

This sums up Jones to a tee. He's a 4th line player. He would never be a top 9 player on a good team.

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#31 Eddie Shore
July 15 2013, 06:33PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

This sums up Jones to a tee. He's a 4th line player. He would never be a top 9 player on a good team.

Can you name other "4th line" players that have scored 17 or 18 goals in a season?

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#32 toprightcorner
July 15 2013, 06:37PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

I think we've all been hoping Jones turns into that player as he is a likeable guy. I just don't see it happening.

He's basically been pretty soft since he's been here, almost never throws his weight around, is cherry picking looking for the breakaway pass a lot more than he should be doing, is OK at penalty killing, scores the odd greasy goal and rare breakaway goal(I would venture to guess at a very poor goal per breakaway rate).

He's a good depth guy, I'm not mad at the signing, just saying we've been hoping for to long that there is more to his game than there is. Top 6 player he is not, top 9 is almost a stretch at this point. I hope he proves me wrong.

Doesn't throw his weight around? averages about 2 hits a game and only Smid has more hits on the team in Jones last two full seasons of play.

Only okay at penalty kill? Lead forwards in both TOI per game and total TOI killing penalties his last two full seasons of play. Lead team in short-handed pts in 2011-2012.

Cherry picking?? Unless a player scores over 40 goals, a coach would never allow a player to cherry pick and even then it is rare. On the PK, Jones was the guy who was supposed to break first for a break away pass if the team gained control because he was the best chance at scoring and had the speed to break it out.

You guess his breakaway success rate is poor? Success rate on a breakaway is typically less than 20%, hardly anyone would be considered to have a good breakaway success rate.

I would suggest that you research your arguments before using them to state your case as everything you said directly opposes your argument.

I respect the fact that you don't see him as anything more than a 4th line player and I too agree he is not a top 6 guy, though he has shown in the past he can fill that role with an injury or replacing a demoted player, without looking lost.

I believe he is an average 3rd liner with potential to be above average and I also think Eakin's is the type of coach to get that out of him.

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#33 DonDon
July 15 2013, 06:40PM
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With regard to Jones, for some of us it's not about "liking" him, it's about his compete as a complementary NHL player on a team that is sorely lacking such players. He is another guy that doesn't fit this struggling team that has been easy to play against.

As for Jason's BOTTOM SIX, is there an NHL team with a worse lot?

On the subject of Gagner, who at best might fit as a 3rd line winger of a competing NHL club, $4M is an overpay, $5M is obscene as is the case with Hemsky. If both Gagner and Hemsky are on the squad for this coming season, the Oilers are in serious trouble. They are tying up slots that deserve to go to better players.

MacT has raised the bar on expected performance, now he has to deliver. Still way too many "non factor" players on the roster. Big hole at 2nd line centre. Bottom six could be a disaster. The goalie position has been improved and there is some hope for the defence, but if MacT is satisfied with what he currently has the franchise is back to being a top lottery team.

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#34 toprightcorner
July 15 2013, 06:50PM
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@Reg Dunlop

I am not even going to include your comments as to save people from having to read your garbage again.

Most importantly, trying to be funny by using an "anti-gay" term in your comments is not only disgusting and disturbing but a complete insult to everyone reading your comments, especially something that sounds like it is made up anyway.

Trying to be funny, busting guys chops and even calling guys on things is all fine when on this site as it should all be done in fun but using derogatory terms about peoples life choices is crossing the line and hopefully gets someone as ignorant as you banned from the site as we don't need to read that trash.

Lest importantly, sure, you may not like Jones but if you make such wild claims, you should try and back it up as most "basic" stats will prove each and every point you made completely wrong.

Hopefully this is the last time anyone has to read a comment from Reg Dunlop!

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#35 toprightcorner
July 15 2013, 07:07PM
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As far as captain is concerned, I don't think that Hall or Eberle need the added pressure or responsibility of having the "C" on their jersey. I would rather them focus on being the best at what they do and improving for the next couple years as they both have the ability to be elite at their positions.

I think Ference has everything you want from a captain and he definitly knows what it takes to win but I am not a big proponent on making a new addition to the team a captain, unless they have successful experience already being a captain.

I believe it was Jacques Lemaire with Minnesota where he had a rotating captain every month that was voted on by the players. I really liked that idea as the players will choose someone that they respect and look up to and it also creates internal competition to allow people to really step up and do whats best for the team in an effort to possibly be chosen as team captain in the future. Minnesota may have been a boring team to watch, but back then, nobody could deny their work effort or ability to follow and execute the system.

I would love to see the Oilers implement this type of system for their captain for at least one year, if not two and then the true leaders will rise to the top, the others will fall to the bottom and potentially be replaced. Once Hall or Eberle are around 25 years old and the team has had some success, that would be the best time to select one of them as the permanent captain if they are the best choices at that time.

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#36 nunyour
July 15 2013, 07:19PM
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Where are all the second round draft picks the oilers have had for many years of sucking,are none of them any good?

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#37 GVBlackhawk
July 15 2013, 07:37PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Can you name other "4th line" players that have scored 17 or 18 goals in a season?

With all due respect Mr. Stick, you are living in the past. Ryan Smyth once scored 40 goals...do you think he is the same player now? Neither Smyth or Jones are more than 4th line guys at this stage in their respective careers. If Jones outperforms in a 4th line role, then the team has done well and I will tip my hat to him. Slotting him into a position that he failed miserably at last season means that he MUST outperform to even meet expectations of a 3rd line player. The fact that he is centered by a guy who does not drive offense indicates that there is a very low probability of him repeating a 17 or 18 goal season. If you expect that, then be prepared for a major letdown.

A 3rd line guy is also supposed to be defensively responsible as he will have a high percentage of defensive zone starts and will be playing against the opposition top line (on home ice). Jones has never proven that he can handle that role. Why do you think he can handle it now? What has changed?

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#38 WhattaMike
July 15 2013, 07:50PM
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Right now...Jones is signed to play for the Oilers and the best part of this coming season is that he has to succeed when he has just a one yr contract.

I can see Jones getting between 15 to 20 plus goals again because he has healed from that injury to his eye, he will be playing at a full time training camp, he has a definite demanding new coach/new associate coach as bosses, and he has something to prove bigtime...so as to get a new contract again!!!!

Jones with Gordon is decent because Gordon is a great defensive two way 3rd line centre. If they go with Hemsky attached this line has definite offensive ability too. If not Hemsky, who may be traded for draft picks alone, (and there is no new 3rd line winger in a trade for Hemsky)then I am expecting to see Ryan Hamilton get into that 3rd line slot.

Oh yeah, BTW,my hockey loving sister and her two girl friends all love Jonesy too.

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#39 Hayek
July 15 2013, 08:52PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

Right now...Jones is signed to play for the Oilers and the best part of this coming season is that he has to succeed when he has just a one yr contract.

I can see Jones getting between 15 to 20 plus goals again because he has healed from that injury to his eye, he will be playing at a full time training camp, he has a definite demanding new coach/new associate coach as bosses, and he has something to prove bigtime...so as to get a new contract again!!!!

Jones with Gordon is decent because Gordon is a great defensive two way 3rd line centre. If they go with Hemsky attached this line has definite offensive ability too. If not Hemsky, who may be traded for draft picks alone, (and there is no new 3rd line winger in a trade for Hemsky)then I am expecting to see Ryan Hamilton get into that 3rd line slot.

Oh yeah, BTW,my hockey loving sister and her two girl friends all love Jonesy too.

Pretty unlikely Jones gets 15 goals this year. I'd probably think the over/under would be set somewhere around 9 goals. He will get little ice time this year, and zero time on the powerplay. Hard to get 15 goals with zero powerplay time.

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#40 Reg Dunlop
July 15 2013, 09:26PM
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@toprightcorner

Wow, toprightcorner, you truly took me to task tonight. I think talk of banning me may be a tad over the top as I am sure you can skip my comments, although your world will be a duller place as a result. Cheers and have a pleasant evening.

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#41 nuge2nail
July 15 2013, 09:50PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Captain Hall Assistant Captain Ference Assistant Captain Eberle

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#42 Eddie Shore
July 15 2013, 11:10PM
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@GVBlackhawk

You didn't answer my question...

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#43 GVBlackhawk
July 16 2013, 12:56AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

You didn't answer my question...

Yes I did but you chose to ignore the answer.

When Ryan Jones scored 18 & 17 goals in 2010-11 & 2011-12, he was playing on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines. He also received power play minutes. He was not a 4th line player...on a 30th and 29th place team.

His play has diminished to the point where he is now a 4th line calibre player. In addition, the team has better players now and he is being pushed down the depth chart.

Ryan Smyth scored 19 goals in 2011-12. Does that mean he's still a 3rd line player, too?

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#44 Tikkanese
July 16 2013, 09:31AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

Doesn't throw his weight around? averages about 2 hits a game and only Smid has more hits on the team in Jones last two full seasons of play.

Only okay at penalty kill? Lead forwards in both TOI per game and total TOI killing penalties his last two full seasons of play. Lead team in short-handed pts in 2011-2012.

Cherry picking?? Unless a player scores over 40 goals, a coach would never allow a player to cherry pick and even then it is rare. On the PK, Jones was the guy who was supposed to break first for a break away pass if the team gained control because he was the best chance at scoring and had the speed to break it out.

You guess his breakaway success rate is poor? Success rate on a breakaway is typically less than 20%, hardly anyone would be considered to have a good breakaway success rate.

I would suggest that you research your arguments before using them to state your case as everything you said directly opposes your argument.

I respect the fact that you don't see him as anything more than a 4th line player and I too agree he is not a top 6 guy, though he has shown in the past he can fill that role with an injury or replacing a demoted player, without looking lost.

I believe he is an average 3rd liner with potential to be above average and I also think Eakin's is the type of coach to get that out of him.

Do you even watch hockey? No, seriously, do you?

Averages 2 hits per game? You do realize the Hits category is the most innacurate category of all, don't you? Do you watch the games? Jones never throws hits. He might accidently bump into someone along the boards when he's trying to recover the pass he just missed, that's about it. I wish he would hit, I really do.

I'm not the only person to point out his cherry picking style of play. He does it all the time 5x5. The fact that you point out that he does it on the PK just proves my point even more. In case you're confused, cherry picking is when a player ignores his defensive responsibilities in the defensive zone by waiting around center ice hoping one of his teammates steals the puck and passes it up to him for an easy breakaway. Insert Ryan Jones picture into the dictionary here.

As far as his breakaway goal rate, I meant as compared to the rest of the league. The only guy with a worse scoring % on the breakaway in my memory would be Todd Marchant. Is that stat kept anywhere? If he was as good at scoring on breakaways as you suggest he is, then why is he never used in the shootout?

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#45 The Heist
July 16 2013, 09:42AM
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@Tikkanese

Well atleast he included hits as a stat as evidence instead of "do you even watch hockey?" And have you looked at our roster? And you honestly just asked why Ryan Jones isn't in a shootout? Haha. Do I even need to? Ok its early morning, sure. Hall, eberle, gagner, hemsky, nuge, yak, hell even Schultz Jr..... And yes hits stats are kindve hit and miss, pun intended but try telling me that when ovechkin was leading the league in goals and hits at the same time it was because of bad stat keeping. An extreme example maybe, but come on. Its a statistic.

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#46 The Heist
July 16 2013, 09:44AM
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@Tikkanese

Oh and saying that Ryan Jones "abandons defensive responsibilities and waits around center ice" really hurts your argument because I now believe you need to see an optometrist, get that checked out.

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#47 Tikkanese
July 16 2013, 11:27AM
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The Heist wrote:

Well atleast he included hits as a stat as evidence instead of "do you even watch hockey?" And have you looked at our roster? And you honestly just asked why Ryan Jones isn't in a shootout? Haha. Do I even need to? Ok its early morning, sure. Hall, eberle, gagner, hemsky, nuge, yak, hell even Schultz Jr..... And yes hits stats are kindve hit and miss, pun intended but try telling me that when ovechkin was leading the league in goals and hits at the same time it was because of bad stat keeping. An extreme example maybe, but come on. Its a statistic.

I feel bad for your English teachers. I am not claiming to be perfect at it, but wow.

I asked him if Jones is as good at breakaways as he thinks he is, then why isn't he used in shootouts. Is that so hard to comprehend? Pointing out Hall, Ebs etc is beyond the point. Besides, your point is flawed. Pisani was regularily used in the Shootout over the stars of the team at that time because he was very good at it. If Jones was as good as he suggested, he would be used as well.

"And yes hits stats are kindve hit and miss"? I assume you meant "kind of". It is a well known fact that Hits is the most innacurate stat of them all. Are you saying Ovechkin doesn't hit? "Do you even watch hockey?" applies to you if that is what you are saying. If that isn't what you were saying, I have no idea what point you were trying to make there. "kindve" sounds like you are agreeing with me even though you are trying not to.

He's also cherry picking Jones' stats from his only two "good" years out of his entire career. I wasn't talking about Jones last year. I was talking about Jones over his entire career. He's never been a "hitter". I'm not the only one saying that either. I don't care what the Hit stats say.

I hope Eakins can make something more out of Jones. We've basically been a 30th place team with the "magical powers" of Jones getting all the ice time he used to get in his only two "good" years. What does that tell you? Jones is a likeable guy and the Oil need something more out of Jones pretty desperately. The bottom 6 looks to be pretty bad on paper. If Jones spends any time in the top 6 it will be even worse.

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#48 oilerjed
July 16 2013, 11:58AM
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Josh G wrote:

Ryan Jones isn't good at hockey though. total waste of a roster spot

This is a ridiculous comment. In the last 2 seasons before his eye injury and playing over 50 games he potted 17 and 18 goals in the NHL. Puts him at 144 in the league, a dynamo no, but if you cant see the positives of a guy who can score 15 goals for you and do what ever your team asks of him you dont know how to build a hockey team.

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#49 The Heist
July 16 2013, 12:46PM
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@Tikkanese

Alright you got me, I missed the apostrophe in kind've lol. And yes I was agreeing with you, hits stats ARE the most inconsistent. Anyways I'm not arguing this point anymore. My original point was just agreeing with gregor, Jones maybe should be thrown in top 6 as an experiment to break up some skill and inject some intangibles, some grease, some heart etc.

I never said Jones is an actual top 6 forward.

Though, just as surprising as his career year was on a failing team, imagine now with a team (we hope) is on the rise, he could beat those numbers. Contract year, healed eye, actual time to workout and gel with team, playing with more skilled linemates and a bit more ice time, I think we could be surpised by Jones again. In closing, don't write him off yet.

Go oil

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#50 Wäx Män Riley
July 16 2013, 06:42PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Ryan Jones would be a great addition to a non-contact beer league team. He is doubtless a great guy but I must go one further: he could be a call-up for 4th line duty but really he should not be in the league. Anyone remember 'waiver pick-up'? He is the new Buchberger. If not for the good grace of the Oilers he would be a career AHLer. Maybe he will replace Bucky as assistant coach in 10 years. He probably hopes fighting in hockey is banned as he apologizes if he bumps into anyone. Creamy, gooey soft player. But a good guy. My queer neighbor refers to Ryan as his 'squeeze'. He also likes Broadway musicals and 'The View'.

Other waiver pick ups:

Ilya Bryzgalov

Kyle Quincey

Sergei Samsonov

Todd Marchant

Mark Recchi

Michael Grabner

Dominic Moore

Waivers don't always mean you aren't good enough and you belong in the AHL or ECHL.

Jones has some great qualities, unfortunately hockey sense isn't one of them. Maybe it is the eye injury, but the number of times last year I saw him shovel the puck out of the corner in front of the net to nobody blew my mind.

A healthy Jones can be in my bottom 6 though.

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