SUN Hockey Pool

Jacques and Hyde

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

MINNESOTA -- He goes down to the American League and he turns into Cam Neely.

In the NHL, he scores like Cam Ward.

Being outscored by a goalie over your career is always frustrating, but in JF Jacques' case, it's made even more so by the fact he can score in his sleep in the minors.

"I'm still trying to figure it out," said Jacques, who doesn't have a single point to show for 46 NHL games, but put up a Gordie Howe hat-trick in his first game down in Springfield last weekend.

When the Oilers sent him down late last year, his NHL pointless streak at 44, he scored two goals in his first game back in the AHL.

"I was talking to (Springfield coach) Kelly Buchberger before they called me back up," said Jacques, who drew in against the Wild last night. "And he told me to just focus on trying to do the same things in Edmonton that I do down there."

But he still hasn't been able to translate his AHL prowess to the big leagues. His NHL total: 46 games, 0 points. His AHL total: 102 games, 36 goals, 37 assists, 72 points.

Of course, down there he's playing 18 minutes a night and sees time on the power play. In Edmonton, he gets about five minutes, and doesn't do much with it.

"The amount of ice time has something to do with it," he said. "But it's up to me to prove that I can play more. It's up to me to show that I can do more and help the team more than I'm doing right now."

Head coach Craig MacTavish believes Jacques can get away with things in the minors that he can't in the NHL.

"With the physical skill he has he can outskate people down there, and he's highly intimidating. Here, positionally, the ice closes up. He's great in open ice, he can tramp the puck wide, but when the ice closes up it's more difficult to make a play, not only for him but everybody.

"But he's getting better up here, too, we're noticing that. Without the puck his play has greatly improved, even with the puck he's making better decisions and better plays.

"He's at the stage of his career where you have to see some development and we're seeing that."


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