Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Notes: Soshnikov Is Set to Play after First Practice with Blues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Notes: Soshnikov Is Set to Play after First Practice with Blues

Article excerpt

There was a new face with a new number on the ice for the Blues on Saturday before the team flew to Nashville, and right now, the Blues will take anything new.

Nikita Soshnikov, who was acquired in a trade with Toronto on Feb. 15, had his first practice with the team Saturday, and coach Mike Yeo said he will be in the lineup Sunday against the Predators.

"I thought he looked really good," Yeo said. "He's in good condition. Skating is the first thing that jumps out at you. Hands, shot, he seemed to be jumping into the drills and fitting in as far as picking up our game fairly quickly. To me, it looks like he's ready to get in the lineup tomorrow."

Soshnikov had been waiting in Toronto for his U.S. work visa to come through and was hoping to play Friday against Winnipeg. ("Just skating on my own," he said. "Not fun.") He got the visa too late for that, rushed to the airport and flew to St. Louis, getting to Scottrade Center during the Blues-Jets game.

"I was actually expecting a trade because of the situation there," he said. "When I got traded, I was real happy and couldn't wait to join the Blues."

Between the trade and Soshnikov's arrival, the Blues have gone 0-3, and while it was strange to be a man without a team for awhile, Soshnikov used the time to get to know the Blues.

"I was looking into this like it's a great opportunity to watch the team and their kind of structure because I didn't pay attention much before," he said. "I was watching a few games and it gave me a little more information until I got here."Yeo put Soshnikov on a line with Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund in practice. Even though Soshnikov is not known for being a physical player rather than a goal scorer, Yeo hopes the new face gives the whole team a boost.

"You could see that there was a little bit of excitement," Yeo said, "and obviously when you add a guy like that, it gives you the ability to shuffle things around a little bit. It makes you a little bit deeper and a little bit stronger through your whole lineup. …

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