Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kostin Making Fast Adjustment, Impresses Blues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kostin Making Fast Adjustment, Impresses Blues

Article excerpt

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. * Young right winger Klim Kostin is far enough along with his English that he was able to greet a reporter Saturday night with: "Glad to meet you."

After that he let his agent, Daniel Milstein, serve as Russian-English interpreter on the floor of Centre Ice Arena.

"I'm extremely happy to be here," Kostin said, after the Blues' 7-6 overtime victory over Dallas in the NHL prospects tournament.

"It's the first time after the injury, so I'm slow at getting into the game. Tremendous support from the team and from the teammates and from the coaches. Without them it would be extremely difficult."

But if Kostin's first two games in Traverse City were any indication, he has a funny definition of "slow." The team's Russian import, a first-round draft pick in June, scored a goal in each of the Blues' first two games in the tournament. Sunday was an off day for all eight teams.

Both Kostin goals came on third-period power plays.

(Originally, he was credited with two goals Friday against the Wild, but a second-period goal actually was scored by the team's other 2017 first-round draft pick, Robert Thomas.)

But in the third period of that game, Kostin did score from a near impossible angle to the right of Minnesota goalie Adam Vay.

"This was something I was trained for, prepared at the practices," Kostin said.

It gave St. Louis a 5-1 lead in a game they astonishingly lost 6-5.

Saturday against the Dallas Stars, with the Blues trailing 6-3 in the third period, Kostin got a four-goal rally started with a goal on a quick wrist shot at the 13-minute, 11-second mark.

A smiling Kostin was even less insightful when asked about that score.

"I got lucky today," he said.

While the Blues may have been fortunate that the highly touted Kostin was available at No. 31 overall in the draft, there doesn't seem to be much luck involved when it comes to his hockey prowess.

"At (post-draft) development camp, you could see he's got the skill, he's got the size and the strength," said Barrett Jackman, the former Blues defenseman who's helping coach the prospects team.

"For him to come in here and kind of get his first taste of North American hockey, everybody's eager to see what he brings. But he has the potential to be a very high-end offensive threat."

Playing in the Moscow Dynamo program last year, Kostin suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. Although he participated in drills at the Blues' development camp, he did not take part in any scrimmages.

The prospects event in Michigan marked his first game action since December. Two prospects games don't make a career, but so far Kostin has been as advertised. Besides his two goals, he had an assist Saturday on a Tage Thompson goal that sent the game into overtime at 6-6.

"I don't want to put expectations too great on a younger player," general manager Doug Armstrong said a few minutes before Saturday's game. …

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