Retired NBA player Popeye Jones was traded six times during the course of his career. His son, Seth, an NHL hockey player recently acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets in a blockbuster trade with the Nashville Predators for Ryan Johansen, doesn't want to catch him.
Retired NBA player Popeye Jones was traded six times during the course of his career.
His son, Seth, an NHL hockey player recently acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets in a blockbuster trade with the Nashville Predators for Ryan Johansen, doesn't want to catch him.
The newest to don the Union Blue, the 21-year-old Jones is a big, mobile defenseman who, it is hoped, will provide stability on the back end for years to come alongside his new defense partner, 22-year-old 2012 first-round pick Ryan Murray.
The trade was big news league-wide, and a significant event for the Blue Jackets organization. For Jones, it marked a departure from the team that drafted him, sent to a team in the midst of a season for which "disappointing" would be an understatement.
"It's difficult for sure. You understand that trades are part of the business, but you can't really prepare for it," Jones said. "It all happened pretty quick."
Jones admitted to not knowing many of his new teammates beyond their names (although he did get a quick primer on the team from none other than Johansen himself, whom he ran into at Port Columbus International Airport as the two crossed paths on their ways into and out of town), but said that the players have helped make the transition easy.
"Coming to the locker room wasn't that hard of an adjustment. The guys here are very open and I felt part of the team right away," Jones said. "The staff and players have done an exceptional job helping me."
"The first guys I got close to was the [defense] corps, being around them, next to them on the bench and working at practices. And especially [Murray], being my partner. We're communicating great on the ice, and I think that starts with a relationship off the ice."
Off the ice, Jones has been making the transition to being a Columbus resident, moving into a small apartment "just to get through the next couple of months." He has also had the transition helped by his mother, who has visited on a number of occasions, bringing his belongings - and his car.
"I'm pretty much all settled in now," he said.
Off-ice life means finding the necessities, too, from food and clothes - Jones is big into fashion - to fun and relaxation.
"Grocery store, shops, movies, that's pretty important to me, I like to go to the movies," he said. "Sandwich shops, restaurants. I eat anything. I'm the least picky person. The only thing I don't like is cabbage."
"You don't have to put that in [the article]."
Jones said he recognizes the importance of the trade to the organization and, of course, to the fans.
"I'm extremely happy to be here. [Head Coach John Tortorella] told me right away that I was going to be given big minutes and have a bigger role on the team. I'm very open and happy about that," he said. "I'm going to do what I can to help the team, whether that's being better defensively for the team or on the power play or whatever that may be. There are a lot of aspects that go into winning hockey games. It doesn't have to be a goal or an assist. It can be a blocked shot or a big penalty kill at the end of a game when you're up by a goal. I hope I can bring a lot of that to the team.
"I just try to bring some excitement to the game. Whether it's defensively, being hard on guys, hitting - that's something I need to work on in my game, I think, is to be more physical. Once I do that I can join the rush and make more offense happen."
Jones said having a dad who was a professional athlete has made a difference in how he goes about his business. In addition to providing encouragement and a lighthearted touch in the wake of the trade, Popeye has been a lifelong example to Seth.
"Just being in the locker room as a kid and watching some of those guys, their work ethic, even the star players, how they work every day. Obviously basketball and hockey are different sports, but it showed me how hard I need to work.
"I knew from the time I was 12-13 years old I wanted to play in the NHL. I got lucky and that's what happened."