Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov Start WJC With A Bang

The annual World Junior Championship tournament has begun and two of the players with ties to the Buffalo Sabres started the tournament with a bang. Buffalo Sabre prospects Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov are both playing in the tournament with Team Russia, as Russia looks to improve on their bronze medal finish from last year’s World Junior’s.

Russia played their first game of the tournament earlier this morning against Norway and soundly defeated them 11-0 to open up the tournament. Grigorenko scored a goal and notched two assists on way to finding his “swagger” back on the ice, while Zadorov scored two goals- one of which was shorthanded.

“We just tried to play the game as if the score was close the whole time or as if we were playing Canada or Sweden.” ~ Mikhail Grigorenko

The Buffalo Sabres need Grigorenko to re-find his confidence while playing in Sweden for Russia at the World Juniors so he can fit in

with the Sabres after the tournament. The World Juniors are the best place for Grigorenko to re-find his game as he looks to lead Russia to a gold medal in his third crack at the tournament. Grigorenko has previously won a silver and a bronze, the only thing left is the gold medal.

Zadorov only backed what all Sabres fans already knew: the kid can play. From hitting players to his nose for offence, Zadorov could be a complete package on the blue line in the future. The kid has skills and confidence which will only help his development into the NHL.

Both players will have the opportunity to simplify their game and focus on winning gold for their countries while having fun playing against other players their age.

Girgorenko, Zadorov and the rest of team Russia will be back in action on Saturday when they take on Switzerland in game two of the 2014 World Juniors.


Tags: Mikhail Grigorenko Nikita Zadorov World Juniors

  • Jes

    Unbelievable Caitlin. Thank God the Russian coach knows how to utilize Grigorenko rather then what Nolan, Rolston and Ruff had done. That’s what Grigorenko will be when he is developed the right way.

    Zadorov the guy is an absolute beast, can’t say anything but that. He’d still be in the NHL if he were on a playoff team. But he’s not so why waste a year on his entry-level deal? Him and Myers on the same line? Other teams better watch out.

    Any news on Compher and Ristolainen? Who else am I missing from the list of Sabres participating in the WJC?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Hoping this stint with the WJ’s will light Grigorenko for when he gets back.
      Compher is out of the tournament due to a broken foot

    • Andy

      Glad to see Grigo producing as well, but one 3 point game against boys (Norway at that) means NOTHING. He has great vision and a wicked shot (displayed on the PP assist and his goal), but if you saw the scoring plays there was SO much more time to work with…he should keep this scoring pace up and then some if it is to mean anything translating back to the NHL where parity reigns. Just my two cents. I’m a Grigo fan no doubt, but I still think success in the NHL is a ways off for him.

      • Jes

        NHL success for Grigorenko is just as far away as it’s for Zadorov and Ristolainen or any other player playing in the WJC. So it’s totally right about what your saying.

        • Andy

          I disagree. NHL success is very close for Anthony Mantha, Jonathan Drouin, even Zadorov. Just look at the pace and assertiveness they play with. It’s further off for others, in my opinion.

          • JHizzle75

            That’s true, Andy, but there are NHL ready players on these teams…probably not on Norway, though. Lol. I think playing teams like Canada, USA and Sweden will be a better measuring stick for Grigo. Still not NHL players, but a better gauge than Norway.

          • Jes


          • Andy

            I agree that those teams are a better measuring stick as well. Did anyone watch the Russia Norway game? You might understand my comments better then. Grigo did not look dominant to me by any means. He showed up on the scoresheet, awesome. But I saw lots of the same that got him in the pressbox with the Sabes.

          • JHizzle75

            Fair enough, Andy. I didn’t see the game, so I can’t comment on how he looked.

    • Melissa Kania

      Ristolainen and Finland played their first game today, Risto had three shots & Finland won 5-1 over Norway. That’s it for Sabres prospects in the WJCs, as Compher is injured and never ended up traveling with the US team to Sweden. Gustav Possler was also probable for the tournament but just had season-ending knee surgery.

  • Ben Chalker

    Excellent news

  • Dan

    For those who did not read Jaromir Jagr’s comments made in Dallas last week, read and weep… “Jagr, a former Dallas Star, turned his attention to Valeri Nichushkin, saying the 18-year-old has impressed him the most of all the rookies this season.

    ‘This guy is going to be the best in the world one day,’ Jagr said.”

    Nichushkin could be playing at the World Juniors (and next year) but is playing on the 1st line with Dallas posting 18 points…..almost all 5 on 5.

    Rasmus Ristolainen is a solid prospect but will never match the upside potential of Nichushkin. What a bone headed decision to pass on Nichushkin……”SAFE IS DEATH”