Oilers recall Jacques, Belle

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:46 PM ET

Reinforcements are on the way.

The Edmonton Oilers called up winger J.F. Jacques and defenceman Shawn Belle on Tuesday.

Both are expected to be in the lineup when the Oilers play host to the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday. Both will add much needed grit to the roster.

“When we’ve got it, we need to use our size and strength,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “He (Jacques) has that, there’s no question. We have to make sure that we play a game that’s simple enough that allows him to do those things.

“You can make a big statement for himself if you’re on top of people, finishing your checks, going hard to the net and doing those sorts of things.”

Jacques, 25, has not played for the Oilers since February, having to undergo back surgery.

He scored a goal in four games with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons while down on a conditioning stint.

The former second-round pick had four goals and seven assists in 49 games with the Oilers last season before his back gave out.

Belle, meanwhile, has two goals and 13 assists in 17 games for the Barons this season.

The local product was signed as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

He’s expected to take the place of Ladislav Smid, who is out with a concussion after being sucker punched by New York Rangers forward Sean Avery on Sunday.

Smid made the mistake of turning away from Avery after he declined an invitation to fight, only to have the Rangers agitator jump him and land a right hand on the button.

“He’s not ready to play,” said Renney. “He’s not going to play (Wednesday). Beyond that, I’m not sure.

“I have to talk to T.D. (head trainer, T.D. Forss) and the player and see where we are.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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