Jean-Francois Jacques made his NHL debut on February 2nd, 2006. 6 shifts, 4:31 time-on-ice. It was a veteran lineup, even the 4th liners (Todd Harvey, Marty Reasoner) he skated with had a lot of experience. This was the team that went all the way to G7, SCF later that spring.
Other notable forwards that night were Ryan Smyth, Michael Peca, Radek Dvorak, Georges Laraque, Raffi Torres, Jarret Stoll. The only current Oilers who played up front that night were Horcoff, Hemsky, Pisani and Jacques.
On October 10, 2009 JF Jacques scored his first NHL goal. Ales Hemsky did a mini-Denis Savard curl and bounced it off the boards to Ladislav Smid. Smid sent a seeing eye single through the ether that looked like Shawn Horcoff tipped and Jacques definitely got wood on for the score.
It was his 64th game in the show and he didn’t have a goal, which was close to a record. I think we need to factor in JFJ’s injury history to the “hands of stone” storyline that keeps popping up in regard to his offense.
First liner? Hell no. However, there are skill elements in his game and the big man has added three assists since the goal (4gp, 1-3-4 E since 10 October). I don’t think he’ll spend a lot of the season on the 1line but that’s not the most important element he’s bringing to his 09-10 game. The secret ingredient? JF Jacques is healthy.
The Canucks are on a bit of a roll right now and despite one of the piss-cutter twins being injured I’m not comfortable this will be a win. Kesler looks like a nightmare again, Jesus in pads can’t possibly play this badly against the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” Oilers and it looks like Hemsky’s illness may take him out of the lineup again.
The Oilers are led offensively this season (so far) by Dustin Penner, Gilbert Brule and Mike Comrie among the forwards and on the blue by Denis Grebeshkov and Lubomir Visnovsky.
The important elements on defense are Horcoff (faceoffs and PK), an all hands on deck blue and by the “so calm he looks like he’s in a coma” Nikolai Khabibulin between the pipes.
Will they win? Hell if I know. It’ll be fun though. Go Oilers, and it wouldn’t kill you to knock off a loonie on the beer. Sheesh.