The door might finally have swung open for Jason Spezza with his new head coach.

At the heart of the uncertainty over the veteran centre’s status with the Toronto Maple Leafs is the fact Mike Babcock hasn’t been totally convinced he’d be willing to put his ego aside and embrace life as a grinder.

Let’s face it: The NHL isn’t exactly brimming with former superstars who may only get on the ice a couple times a period to take a defensive zone draw and immediately head to the bench. Yet there Spezza was Friday, eking out 10 minutes in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets after being scratched for the season opener, and still finding tangible ways to contribute to the cause.

“I was impressed with him tonight,” said Babcock. “I was impressed [that] he was happy with what we need him to do.”

That attitude will be vital to making this homecoming a happy one for the former No. 2 overall pick.