Family ties: How brothers Caleb, Seth Jones ended up playing together on the Blackhawks
Remote controls flying across the room. A broken television. Mini hockey sticks sailing through the air. Temper tantrums.
Mom screaming, "Go to your rooms!!"
Welcome to life in Seth and Caleb Jones' household 20-plus years ago, where hypercompetitive genes were no doubt doled out at birth. Their father, Popeye, was a power forward for six NBA teams from 1993-2003. Their mom, Amy, doubled as a disciplinarian and motivator.
Throw in older brother Justin and it's easy to see why many competitions often ended in gut-wrenching agony for the loser.
"We all show it differently," Seth said. "You're playing in basketball or hockey and you're going to take the last shot, Caleb's taking a hard foul on you. That's where it starts getting tense.
"Caleb was so angry that tears would come out."
Said Caleb: "I was always trying to keep up. There's an age gap, so he always had an advantage."
Now, the brothers are teammates, both in their second season with the Blackhawks. Caleb, 25, came via trade from the Edmonton Oilers, while Seth, 28, inked an eight-year contract extension after being dealt from Columbus in exchange for Adam Boqvist and a package of draft picks.
There are dozens of examples of brothers playing on the same NHL team, with one of the best being the Black Hawks' Reg, Doug and Max Bentley. Reg only played in 11 games, but Doug and Max assisted on his lone goal on January 3, 1943 -- the first time all three participants in a goal were related.
Eighty years later, Seth and Caleb are skating on the same defense pairing.
But how did they even get into hockey in the first place? After all, kids of NBA dads don't often gravitate to an ice rink.
Well, against mile-high odds that's exactly what happened.
Avalanche of emotion
It was actually eldest brother Justin who got the ball -- make that puck -- rolling. While Popeye was playing for the Nuggets in 1999-2000, much of Denver was enraptured with the powerful Colorado Avalanche. The Avs captured the 1996 Stanley Cup and advanced to the conference finals in 1997, 1999 and 2000.
One day Justin came home and told his dad he wanted to play hockey. Seth also got the bug, and Popeye approached Avs legend Joe Sakic about the best way to proceed.
"I said that my kids are interested in playing hockey and I have no clue what to do," the 6-foot-8 Popeye said in a 2017 article. "He looked and saw how tall I was. ... He said, 'By the looks of you, they are going to be very tall. Make sure they know how to skate.' I told my boys, 'Joe Sakic said you better know how to skate. You have to be a great skater.'"
So the Joneses enrolled their boys in lessons for one year before they allowed them to join a team. Seth said he started at age 5 or 6 and never played organized basketball. He did play one season of lacrosse, while Caleb played just one season of basketball in middle school.
Other than that, it was all about hockey. Popeye and his boys even were able to attend the Avs' Game 7 Stanley Cup Final victory over New Jersey in 2001.
Interestingly, Seth's favorite players at the time were -- brace yourself, Hawks fans -- on Detroit.
"I loved Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk," Seth said. "I loved the Red Wings, even though I grew up in Colorado. I never told anyone that. Got to keep that undercover."
Oops. Too late.
Seth thought this hockey thing might have some legs when the U.S. Development Team began talking to him at age 13 or 14.
"That's when I thought I could make something of it," he said.
After two seasons in the USHL and one in the WHL (juniors), Seth was selected fourth overall by the Nashville Predators in 2013.
He immediately cracked the lineup, making his NHL debut on his 19th birthday in a 4-2 loss at St. Louis.
His roommate during his first two seasons? His mom.
"It was just more of a comfortability thing," said Seth, who noted that Caleb also lived with them during the summer. "It was keeping me out of trouble when I was 19 as well. You run into a lot of money when you're that young. You can get into some things -- you never know.
"From a young age, though, I always had my head on straight."
Seth played in 159 of 164 games his first two seasons and appeared in all six games of the Predators' first-round playoff setback to the Hawks in 2015. He had 4 assists in that series and almost 44 minutes in the Hawks' 3-2 triple overtime victory in Game 4 at the United Center.
Seth was traded to Columbus midway through the 2015-16 season and racked up 223 points (50 goals) in 381 games for the Blue Jackets.
He helped lead Columbus to four playoff appearances in six seasons. The most memorable was in 2019 when the Jackets swept the top-seeded Lightning in the opening round. They then beat the Bruins in Games 2 and 3 in the conference semis, but proceeded to drop the next three games.
As the 2021 off-season unfolded there were rumblings that Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was attempting to acquire Caleb from Edmonton. Some felt the move would help lure Seth to Chicago and convince him to sign a long-term extension.
That's exactly what transpired, with Caleb coming aboard in exchange for Duncan Keith, and Seth arriving from the Blue Jackets less than two weeks later. Seth then inked an eight-year, $76 million deal.
The brothers were introduced to reporters on a boat tour of the Chicago River on July 24, 2021.
Asked why he zeroed in on the Hawks, Seth said: "(I trust) Stan to do a good job to put teams together and (I) have an opportunity to play with a couple of Hall of Famers (in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane).
"It's the whole package. ... I've always dreamt about playing here. So I'm extremely excited that I'm finally in a Blackhawks jersey."
But instead of a voyage to the playoffs, the Hawks immediately capsized. Bowman resigned following the Jenner & Block report that detailed the sexual abuse suffered by Kyle Beach in 2010. On the ice, the Hawks opened the season by losing nine straight and 11 of 12. Coach Jeremy Colliton was fired on Nov. 6.
It was a nightmare that never seemed to end.
The Hawks finished 28-42-12, their worst showing in 16 years.
GM Kyle Davidson made it clear last summer that a complete rebuild was the only way for the Hawks to return to glory. That's not what Seth signed up for, so it's hardly surprising that he's been upset at times.
"I'm just as miserable this year as last year," he said. "I just want to win."
The misery has been apparent to his brother.
"I've seen it a few times on him, but he does a good job of trying to hide it," said Caleb, who is averaging a career-high 19 minutes a game and has been skating on the top D pairing with Seth for almost a month. "He'll talk to me when he's frustrated -- and I talk to him. When you're not having success as a team -- even when you get individual success -- it's tough to feel good."
Seth actually is having one of his most productive campaigns, reaching double digits in goals for the third time. Nine of his 10 tallies came in a 27-game span from January 3 to March 6.
"The second half of the year he's been excellent at just playing the game for us as a team," Richardson said. "Strong defensively first and he's such a good skater that -- if you see him when we're in a regroup -- he'll suck a guy in, pass the puck, stop and go and he jumps by the guy. For a big guy, he has a little bit of a quick twitch to get a few first strides and get ahead of the guy."
Just like a young Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook, Seth has a chance to guide a young core out of the abyss and into another championship era.
It's likely going to require at least another couple rough seasons, however, and many young players will be looking to see how Seth conducts himself. He will be one of the most respected voice in the room, unless Patrick Kane and/or Jonathan Toews make an unexpected return.
His voice needs to stay strong and consistent. And, above all, he needs to show plenty of patience -- a trait he freely admits he may need to work on.
"I'm patient at times," Seth said. "When it comes to losing, no. I don't think anyone is.
"We want to turn this thing around as quick as we can. The best way to do that is for everyone to play the best they can. You can say 3-5 (years), 5-7 -- whatever you want.
"Until you start winning and make the playoffs, no one really knows."
The best ways to do that?
Teach. Guide. Compete like mad.
And if throwing the remote control will help, then let it fly.
Keeping up with the JonesesThe skinny on Seth Jones:Height, weight: 6-foot-4, 213 pounds; age: 28
Drafted: No. 4 overall by Nashville in 2013
Contract: Carries $9.5 million cap hit through 2030-31 season
Career stats: 80 goals, 288 assists in 719 games
Season stats: 10 goals, 21 assists in 61 games
Career best in goals: 16 in 2016-17 with Columbus
Career best in assists: 46 in 2021-22 with Blackhawks
Career best in points: 57 in 2016-17 with Columbus
The skinny on Caleb Jones:Height, weight: 6-foot-1, 194 pounds; age: 25
Drafted: In fourth round by Edmonton in 2015
Contract: Expires after season; set to become RFA with arbitration rights
Career stats: 14 goals, 34 assists in 206 games
Season stats: 4 goals, 10 assists in 62 games
Career best in goals: 5 in 2021-22 with Blackhawks
Career best in assists: 10 this year and last year
Average time on ice of 18 minutes, 57 seconds this season a career high
Note: All stats through Friday