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Seth Jones OK with going No. 4 to Nashville

Sunday - 6/30/2013, 10:32pm  ET

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman talks at the beginning of the NHL hockey draft, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Seth Jones won't be going home to Colorado when his NHL career begins, however he will be heading to his famous father's home state as a member of the Nashville Predators.

After being rated No. 1 among North American skaters in pre-draft rankings, Jones was bypassed by Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay before being chosen by the Predators at No. 4.

The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones seemed happy in his bright yellow Nashville jersey, and will be able to learn about playing NHL defense from new teammate Shea Weber.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about going to those teams, but at the same time I'm excited to be a Predator, and obviously Shea Weber is there," he said Sunday about slipping a few spots. "He's a great player, and they have a lot of other great players, and I'm happy to be a part of the organization."

Popeye Jones is friends with one of the Predators scouts, and he said he was told that his son wouldn't fall past Nashville at No. 4.

"I know he was probably sitting up there thinking, 'Oh wow' because somebody said you may go one, you may go two," he said. "When I got drafted in '92, I didn't get to come to the draft. I was just glad to be drafted. I knew how nerve-racking it was watching it at home when I went 41. I am sure it was nerve-racking, but I'm sure he tried to stay calm and cool to see where he was going to go."

Now Seth Jones has something else to prove, beyond the usual drive draft picks have to show that they belong in the NHL.

"I think professional athletes or athletes in general are always looking for something to motivate them because there is always going to be dog days where you may not want to lift or do extra crunches," Popeye Jones said. "But you will look at this and say, 'I got drafted fourth. Maybe I need to get to the weight room again and try to prove guys wrong that I should've went first.'

"You are also looking for that extra motivation."

So now Popeye Jones, drafted by the NBA's Houston Rockets in 1992 and traded to Dallas, knows what NHL team he will be throwing his support to.

"There is no disappointment in going to Nashville. It is such a great franchise," he said. "It is my home state. I've got to get my Preds hat."


COVER BOY BRODEUR: At age 41 and after 20 NHL seasons, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur still has it -- on and off the ice.

Brodeur was selected by fans as the EA SPORTS NHL14 cover athlete, beating out Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky -- this season's Vezina Trophy winner. This marks the first time the game featured a goalie since John Vanbiesbrouck was chosen for NHL '97.

"It's a great honor. This is a lot different than other things because fans voted," Brodeur said Sunday before the NHL draft was held at his home rink in New Jersey. "We had over 22 million voters. For me to be able to be on top of all the players that were involved in the campaign, it's pretty cool.

"It says that I'm still popular a little bit out there even though I'm a little older than most of the guys."

And Brodeur can still play, too. He is signed through the 2013-14 season and hasn't said anything about retiring once that deal is done.

He was limited to 29 games in the lockout-shortened season because of a pinched nerve in his neck and back, but still put up good numbers in a 2.22 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. Brodeur earned 13 wins but the Devils failed to make the playoffs one season after they reached the Stanley Cup final.

"I am looking forward to playing next season and play well," Brodeur said. "I had a good season last season, personally. It's always disappointing when you don't make the playoffs. Physically, I got injured with a freak thing, but I felt really good and I am excited to get back at it.

"It was a crazy year. We didn't get a good break with some of the injuries and stuff. I don't think there is that much to change."

However, Brodeur's eventual replacement was likely acquired on Sunday when the Devils traded the No. 9 pick to Vancouver for goalie Cory Schneider.

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