SUN Hockey Pool

Big night for Oilers Jacques, Belle

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:33 AM ET

Nothing like parachuting into quicksand. With skates on.

It might have looked like a debacle to everybody else in the building, but Wednesday night also happened to be the biggest night of the year for JF Jacques and Shawn Belle — both of whom were making their much-anticipated debuts.

Jacques, who hadn’t played since surgery last February, is back with the club after test driving his back on a four-game conditioning stint in Oklahoma City.

“It’s probably better now than when I left, it’s great news,” he said, adding he didn’t hold anything back in his AHL. “I just played my game. I went in there, not thinking about anything other than finishing my checks. Got into a fight. I just played my game no holding back, and it feels good.”

With the Oilers small and soft up front, Jacques knows it’s the same way he has to play in Edmonton, too.

“I know what I have to do, I know what my role is and how I can help the team. That’s what I’m planning to do.”

Belle drew in for the first time after being the last defenceman cut in training camp.

“It’s a lifelong dream getting back in the NHL, first game at home is something special,” said Belle, who had 15 points in 17 AHL games. “I think I just played with a little more confidence. To actually get the recall it feels good, you know you kind of earned it. They could have picked anybody, all their draft picks. I was pretty happy that they were giving me a chance.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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