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Jackets’ new defenseman might be out of the lineup tomorrow for Game 1

The Russian player has been dealing with visa issues… and Torts!

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have another trick up their sleeve as they signed Vladislav Gavrikov to a contract last week to be able to insert him into the lineup this postseason. 

Gavrikov, who won an Olympic gold medal in the 2018 Winter Games, has come from Russia and took part into the team’s scrimmage on Monday to show off his skills to his new teammates and the fans who came to watch the action. 

However, we still await to see if the Russian blue liner will be able to suit up for the first game of the second round against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. 

Head coach John Tortorella explained to NHL’s Dan Rosen on Wednesday that Gavrikov is expected to have his immigration issues settled in time for Game 1 tomorrow night. He added that it will be his decision if he plays or not. 

“This guy can play,” Tortorella said. “We know he can play.”

The 23-year-old was taken 159th overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2015 draft. Over the past two seasons with SKA St. Petersburg, he totaled 10 goals, 24 assists, 34 points and a plus-69 rating in 110 regular season games. This year, he led the KHL with a rating of plus-48 while posting a 5-15-20 line for a SKA team that advanced to the Western Conference final before losing in seven games to Russian power CKSA Moscow.  

Fans can’t wait to see him in action. The Bruins… might be okay with the fact that the Jackets might have to wait to insert him in the lineup…