For all his quick-witted repartee on Twitter and in the dressing room Ryan Jones is introspective about what he saw last season as he peered through a Plexiglas visor to protect the damaged retina in his left eye.

“I was timid” said the Edmonton Oilers winger. “That’s tough expecially for somebody like myself when you second-guess whether you can go to the areas that made you successful. If you don’t go there you’re basically useless out on the ice. Unfortunately that’s the way it was for me last year.”

Off his work in Saturday’s exhibition game at Calgary where he tipped in a Jeff Petry power-play shot and was a handful on a number of shifts with the Oilers’ best line (teaming up with Boyd Gordon and David Perron) the old Jones looks like he’s back.

“Tenacious on the puck” said Todd Nelson the Oklahoma City Barons coach who ran the bench at Calgary.

He was also in front of the net a lot rewarding Nelson for his power-play generosity with the Ryan Smyth-type deflection.

“I told him he was on the power play so he got all excited and decided to do some extra work at the morning skate” said Nelson.

Athletes will concede a slowness of foot or a shortness of muscle but they do not like to admit the battle gets the best of them. But Jones who took a puck in the eye on New Year’s Eve 2012 during a workout in Minnesota with other locked-out NHL players is no dummy. He got to the NHL on dogged work in the greasy elbows-up areas forging a nice career and payday as a third-liner who scored an inordinate amount of goals five-on-five for his ice-time.

Last year after getting the green light to play a month into the season he was a very pale facsmile of the old Jones. He knows it the fans saw it and the Oilers management opted to give Jones a do-over when it was time to decide whether to re-sign him.

If he plays the way he can play Jones is a very useful versatile forward who can slide up and down a lineup. But he has to be the old Jones pre-puck to the eye.