IN THE NEWS
RYAN JONES ARRIVES IN OKC
By Cassie Gage,
Ryan Jones made his first on-ice appearance for the Oklahoma City Barons Tuesday morning at the Cox Convention Center. Jones was assigned to the Barons by the Edmonton Oilers after clearing waivers on September 26.
“It feels good to be back on the ice,” Jones said after the team’s hour-long practice session. “I’m actually really excited. It’s a good chance to come down, have some fun and play hard and enjoy playing hockey again.”
Jones had been a fixture in the Oilers lineup over the last three seasons and news of his assignment to Oklahoma City came as a bit of a shock to Oilers fans. But, Jones is ready to work on the feedback he’s been given from the Oilers coaching staff – and ready to contribute to the success of the Barons.
“It’s been a tough little ride just like anytime you go through these things in professional sports,” he said. “You take the feedback you get and you work on it.”
Jones played on a line with C.J. Stretch and Tyler Pitlick in the session. All three players attended the Oilers training camp earlier this year and Jones and Pitlick skate together during the summers in Minnesota, where Jones resides in the offseason.
“I know (Pitlick) from skating with him in the summer, and I saw (Stretch) at the camp in Edmonton,” he said. “(C.J.’s) a good player with the puck. I’m just super excited to be here and not taking anything for granted that’s for sure.”
When asked about being a newcomer to the team and how to adjust to new linemates, new coaches and new surroundings, Jones noted the importance of communication and how his prior workout sessions with Pitlick could play a role in his adjustment.
“The biggest thing is being able to talk to guys when you don’t know people that are on your line or team,” Jones said. “When you spend time with guys and know them fairly well, you know how to communicate. Having (worked out with Pitlick during the offseason), it’ll be easy for us to talk to each other on the bench. We can push each other. Tyler had a great camp. We’re trying to make each other better so we can get back to the NHL.”
Jones will have a trio of high-energy coaches to push him this season. Todd Nelson is known for demanding hard work from his players but knows that the best way to get the most out of your players is to ensure they enjoy what they do.
“I had (Todd) up at camp for a few games and just in the short time in talking to him, he really does seem like a player’s coach,” Jones said. “He wants his players to work hard, and he demands that. He understands hockey has to be fun. That’s how you get the most out of your players is by allowing them to continue to enjoy the game.”
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