Periodically during the summer, you will have the chance to ask questions of your favorite Admirals players. Just email your question and it may be answered on norfolkadmirals.com! Make sure to check back periodically to see who will be on the clock next.
The "Catching Up" series continues this week with 2008-09 Admirals center Blair Jones
. Jones set career highs with 20 goals, 34 assists and 54 points with the Admirals last season. He was the only player to appear in all 80 games, ranked second in scoring, fourth in goals, second in assists and tied for second in power play goals (8) with Norfolk. He also established a new AHL Admirals franchise record with 271 shots on goal, ranking third in the American Hockey League.
1. How is your summer going?
My summer is going really good. I am in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes north of my hometown. I have been working out and training basically since I got home. I haven't done too much as far as vacations go. I went to see George Strait at a country music festival about two weeks ago. That was my biggest vacation and that was only an hour away! haha. I have tried to get home on a couple weekends, and spent this past weekend up north at Waskesui, which is a National Park, doing some camping and water skiing.
2. What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
My plans for the rest of the summer donít include too much excitement, just the training and starting to do a lot more skating as of late. Iím trying to get down to Minneapolis to train with Kevin Ziegler (Lightning strength coach) for a week or two also sometime in August.
3. What was your best memory from last season?
My best memories off the ice would have to be doing the weekly Mike and Bob show appearances with Konopka and whoever we decided to bring along. There were always a lot of laughs to be had and you never really knew what was going to be said. Other than that, just hanging out with the guys and meeting new people is fun.
My favourite on-ice memory for me personally was probably getting to 20 goals. I was pretty relieved when the puck went in, I didnít want to get stuck with 19. Also any home win in front of the home crowd is always a treat. I love the fans in Norfolk.
4. Hey Blair! I was wondering how you felt about your accomplishments during the '08-09 season? Hope you have a great summer and see you in October! (Adrienne Gregory, Virginia Beach, Va.)
Well I felt like I came a long way during the season, working on different aspects of my game and trying to become an NHL player. It was disappointing to not get called up to Tampa Bay, but I tried to use my time wisely in Norfolk to develop and workout, and now I know that I am ready to make the jump full time to the NHL.
5. What part of your game do you see as you greatest strength? What part of your game do you need to upgrade? (Dick Moutvic, Virginia Beach, Va.)
Well I think my greatest strengths are probably my skating, shooting, and physical play. I would like to work on my penalty killing, as I think that that is a tremendous asset to have and also a way to get more ice time.
6. What, in your game do you need to improve to play full time in the NHL? (Bill Philp, Tampa Bay, Fla.)
When you are in the minor leagues, you are always trying to find a way to carve a niche and get your foot in the door in the big league. Down the stretch I tried to be a physical, strong, reliable two-way player, because that will be the role I will play when I am in the NHL, so its obviously best for me that I worked at it in Norfolk!
7. What are your goals for next season?
My goal is to make the Lightning and not just be happy to be there, but to contribute to the teamís success.
8. Blair, with the recent draft the Lightning had, how would you rate the chances that the Lightning will make a viable run at making the playoffs this upcoming season? Also, I wanted to ask how aware are the players of fans in the crowd that may cheer harder for certain players? On many occasions last season I noticed you had a couple of fans who were really big fans of yours. Thanks and I hope you have a successful season with the Admirals and/or the Lightning! (Robert VanAlstyne, Virginia Beach, Va.)
Well they certainly have made some moves that set themselves up to be successful. They have addressed the weaknesses from last season on defense, and that is obviously what had hindered them last season. So playoffs are definitely on the horizon this season, in my opinion. As far as the fans, I would like to say thanks to whoever is cheering for me, and depending on how close you sit to the ice, sometimes you can hear people.
9. Hey Blair. I'd like to know what you do in your spare time other than playing hockey. (Brandy Chandler, Henrico, Va.)
Well I like going to the gym, I love camping and boating in the summertime, and golfing when I can (I don't get out much for whatever reason). During the season I like hanging out with the guys doing whatever!
10. What is your favorite thing about Virginia? (Connie Parker, Virginia Beach, Va.)
Well I donít even know where to start. I love Norfolk and Virginia Beach, I love the food (sushi is unbelievable). I love the ocean. The fans are great.
PAST CATCHING UP FEATURES:
Click here to read Scott Jacksonís ďCatching UpĒ
Click here to read Mike Brown's "Catching Up"
Click here to read Juraj Simek's "Catching Up"