Jacques waiting his turn with Oil

The Edmonton Oilers pay a visit to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.(AMBER BRACKEN, QMI Agency)

The Edmonton Oilers pay a visit to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.(AMBER BRACKEN, QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:02 PM ET

SAN JOSE J.F. Jacques has all the physical tools it takes to be productive in the NHL.

Its just a matter of making the most of them.

Jacques, 25, has been a healthy scratch for the Edmonton Oilers in their last two games. Hes expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday when the Oilers face the San Jose Sharks.

I think hes got some real assets, said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. Hes got size and strength, hes a real powerful person. Hes not shy to play the body and do the things that allow us to have the look of a bigger and stronger team.

If he can do those things as well as punch the puck forward, get it deep and give us a presence on both sides of the puck, then there is a lot of opportunity waiting for him.

A second-round pick of the Oilers in 2003, Jacques has been a work in progress for the club for the past six years.

Injuries have set back the Montreal native. He was forced to miss the majority of last season due to back surgery.

This year, Jacques was unable to suit up until November and has yet to record a point in 12 games.

Obviously you never want to be a healthy scratch, its not something that I enjoy a lot, said Jacques. But you just have to come and continue to work hard in practice and be ready to play.

You can learn a little bit from watching from the press box, but the main thing is to focus what I have to do on the ice. It doesnt hurt to see whats happening from up there and you realize you have more time than you think you do when youre on the ice. That will allow you to make better plays with the puck.

A former junior star with Baie-Comeau in the QMJHL, Jacques once registered 78 point in 69 games with the Drakkar.

The six-foot-three, 231-pound left winger also had a successful first year as a professional, collecting 43 points in 65 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL.

However, hes never been able to hit his stride with the Oilers, scoring just five goals and adding seven assists in 121 games over six seasons.

He needs to be stronger along the walls, making sure pucks get out so that the play doesnt live on in our own end, Renney said. Thats something hes completely capable of doing because that can become a size and strength issue and using your assets. That will allow the game to come to him.

On a team loaded with smaller offensive types, Jacques needs to physical in order to keep a regular spot in the lineup. The danger of having sat out for a couple of games, according to Renney, comes when players get overly analytical and attempt to reinvent their game.

Jacques game is fine, he just needs to play it on a more consistent basis.

Everyone knows that some nights it comes easier than others, Jacques said. I have to know what type of game it is and if I can be helpful doing other things and I can just finish every check and being hard on the other guy, thats another way I can contribute too.

The key for a player like Jacques is to find the balance between being a physical force on the ice without sacrificing other responsibilities, especially in his own end of the ice.

Its something that really depends on the game, Jacques said. Some games I can be just flying around everywhere and Ill look like an idiot just trying to make a big hit on someone. You cant do that at the NHL level, you cant run around and just look for that big hit. But on the other hand, I just need to find a way to be a factor in a game, even if I dont get that big hit.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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