There are still customs he may never shake like not talking after the pre-game skates so he can focus on the night ahead but after seven games in the National Hockey League Anton Belov is settling in with the Edmonton Oilers defence corps.

He knows now he needs to make quicker passes something he didn’t have to do in the Kontinental Hockey League. He’s even used to rough starts to a season having experienced a similar fate with the Omsk Avangard last season.

“Last year in Omsk we played six games with no points” said Belov who has been paired with Justin Schultz. “But we will be strong after this. I think and the coach says every day that we have a lot of good moments in our game so I hope soon the points will be coming.”

The Oilers 1-5-1 battle the New York Islanders on Thursday intent on trying to snap a losing skid that stretched to four games after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders are 2-2-2. Belov will again be in the lineup.

Head coach Dallas Eakins has said there has been some on-the-job training required of the 27-year-old rookie but that was to be expected given Belov was a dark horse coming into camp.

He’s also had some leeway because the Oilers had injuries on the back end. Denis Grebeshkov (groin) is in Oklahoma City on a conditioning assignment; Corey Potter didn’t even make it camp because of a back injury and he still isn’t skating with the team; and Oscar Klefbom clearly needed time to adjust to the North American game.

Philip Larsen who was pushing for a spot has more NHL experience than Belov but doesn’t have the 6-foot-4 218-pounder Russian’s size.

“He just keeps getting better and better” Eakins said earlier this week. “He’s big he can move the puck and he can really shoot it. He’s continuing to learn how we want to play here.

“I think the pace in the KHL is much slower and I don’t mean from a speed perspective but a puck control perspective where they’ll take the puck back and play around with it. The way we want to play is fast and vertical and hard.”

Belov 27 turned down a more lucrative KHL contract to try his hand in the NHL then got caught in a bureaucratic web in September which delayed his arrival for training camp. But he got in a few pre-season games then made it on to the opening day lineup.