As the Buffalo Sabres took to the ice for practice on Tuesday morning a familiar face joined them. Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko was back on the ice with his Sabres teammates after being recalled from the QMJHL.
Grigorenko had been sent down to the QMJHL to rejoin the Quebec Remparts for their playoff run. The Remparts were knocked out in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies after losing the series 4-1.
Through the Remparts 11 games Grigorenko had 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points. But his play was not consistent and drew criticism from head coach Patrick Roy.
After being held point-less for the first three games of the series, Roy made it known he was not impressed with the Grigorenko’s play.
“He won’t have any points the way he’s been playing. He has to be ready and he’d better rebound.” ~ Patrick Roy
While the Remparts playoff run wasn’t as deep as many were hoping it would be, Grigorenko will have gained some valuable playoff experience. Had he stayed in Buffalo he wouldn’t have had that opportunity.
After 22 games with the Sabres in which Grigorenko put up just 5 points, the Sabres decided it would be best to send him back to the
QMJHL to participate in the playoffs and shape his game.
With the Remparts eliminated from the playoffs Grigorenko was eligible to return to either the Buffalo Sabres or the Rochester Americans. On Tuesday the team made it clear that Grigorenko would finish the regular season with the Sabres.
Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston confirmed after the morning skate that Grigorenko will be sticking with the Sabres. He will travel to Boston with the team but will not be in the lineup. However after that he is expected to play in the last 5 games.
The Sabres are eager to see what his time in the QMJHL and under coach Roy has taught the rookie and see how his game has evolved. Regier was informed that Grigorenko’s work ethic and attitude had drastically improved.
The rookie will get his second go-around in the NHL after all and will get an opportunity to finish off the year with the team he started the 2013 season with. With no real pressure or expectations on the Buffalo Sabres, head coach Ron Rolston will be free to use Grigorenko as much or as little as he see’s fit.
Grigorenko may still end up in Rochester to join the Amerks as they begin their playoff season and challenge for the Calder Cup. But for now Mikhail Grigorenko is back in blue and gold once again.