Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/21/13
Whether it’s 20 minutes because of unexpected traffic or five days because of immigration and visa red tape showing up late for your first day at the new job is never fun. But there’s no turning back the clock all you can do is roll up your sleeves and let the boss know you’re worth the wait. Anton Belov gets his chance to do exactly that Saturday when he makes his long-awaited Edmonton Oilers debut against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. “A little bit nervous but I feel better” said the 6-foot-4 216-pound defenceman from Russia. “I hope Denis (Grebeshkov) helps me. We played together on the national team one time and we played well. It will be fun.” Belov is still a little frazzled given the immigration frustration the jet lag the 13-hour time change and the fact that this is the first time he’s ever played on North American ice but it’s 11 days into camp and nobody’s seen him play yet so game on. “I don’t have time for rest ... coach needs to look at me” the 27-year-old said after practice Friday. “He needs to know how I can play. I think I’ll play well. “I slept for two whole days because of the time change about 13 hours. Every day I sleep better feel better on the ice.” Belov signed in the off-season to a one-year entry-level contract is a rather mysterious addition a player the coaching staff hadn’t even seen film of until very recently. But he’s someone they expect to be a top six defenceman on this team. “We saw him at the World Championships and Matti Virmanen our scout over in Europe and Finland heard that he was contemplating coming over to the NHL” said GM Craig MacTavish one of the few people in the organization who’ve seen him play. “He really moves the puck up ice quickly he’s strong and physical along the boards battles hard and has good size shoots the puck really well. I think he has a chance. The game is a little quicker over here on the smaller ice but he’s a really really impressive guy.” Belov has a lot of big time connections. He’s friends with Evgeni Malkin and his agent who happens to be in Edmonton this week and also represents the Sedin twins in Vancouver. But until now he’s been content to ply his trade in the KHL.
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