Mikhail Grigorenko worked hard and did everything the Buffalo Sabres asked of him before and during the World Juniors and he himself believed he had done enough to stick around in Buffalo. Unfortunately, Ted Nolan and Tim Murray didn’t share those same views, as they sent him to the Quebec Remparts yesterday, but what they didn’t expect was Mikhail Grigorenko to take a stand. After news broke that Grigorenko would be heading to the QMJHL, another story broke stating that Grigorenko was refusing his loan to the Remparts. What does that mean? It means, Mikhail Grigorenko doesn’t want to be anywhere other than Buffalo right now.
Now you have to feel bad for the kid who has been jerked around by Darcy Regier for the better half of two years. Sending him up and down like a yo-yo and promising him a chance to play while keeping him on the 4th line alongside John Scott or, in the press box eating popcorn. There are a lot of people to blame for the Grigorenko mess from the NHL right down to Grigorenko himself. The last two years have been crazy for him and he has every right to be frustrated with the way he’s been handled but, he doesn’t have the right to put himself before the Buffalo Sabres.
Now I’ve said this before but let me reiterate. When a prospect, expected to be taken in the top three falls all the way out of the top 10 to 12th there’s something not right. Grigorenko was highly touted by 11 other GM’s in the business of building successful teams. A guy like Grigorenko would have been a huge plus to their team. Yet all 11 GM’s ahead of Regier passed on the kid, and the Sabres are beginning to see why.
Grigorenko isn’t reporting to the Q? So basically every fear at the draft about him is coming true
— Matthew Coller (@MatthewWGR) January 11, 2014
We’re beginning to see the other side and the attitude of Grigorenko which made other teams look the other way. In case you hadn’t
noticed he is quite self entitled and refusing to report just shows how selfish the kid is. There are lots of other 19 year olds who get sent back down to junior and just work harder for their next shot, he is 19 and most 19 year olds are in juniors. Like it or not Grigorenko is not a clear cut NHL player yet, he isn’t ready to make an impact night in and night out and he hasn’t yet clued into the fact that he has to work to be better.
Grigorenko had a solid World Junior tournament but it wasn’t spectacular. He didn’t put in any extra effort to carry the Russian squad, he just rode his talent through the tournament. Having talent is one thing but in the NHL every single guy on the ice has talent, it’s the guys who put in the work to take their talent to the next level that succeed.
Mikhail Grigorenko and the Buffalo Sabres are at a cross roads right now. The guy believes he is ready to play in the NHL and maybe Nolan could help him out by playing him with Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno or even Steve Ott, but Tim Murray came into Buffalo on a wrecking ball. Murray isn’t going to take any crap from any player on his way to rebuilding the Sabres. Will Murray really cave and play Grigorenko back in Buffalo?
Or does Murray take a stand and show Grigorenko who the boss is? 19 year old kids have to earn their ice in this league and on the Buffalo Sabres, Grigorenko has done nothing to earn the ice he believes he deserves.
— BDbills (@BDbills) January 11, 2014
The Sabres have now burned two years off of Grigorenko’s entry level deal by toying around with the kid, obviously he’s upset and wants to play in the NHL but he would have been better to keep his mouth shut and wait for his ELC to expire and either demand a trade or head to the KHL. Now every team in the NHL knows the Sabres are in a tight spot and with his attitude the return for him just got a lot smaller.
Is this stand by Mikhail Grigorenko the beginning of the end for his time with the Buffalo Sabres? I’ll leave you with one last tweet;
25 reportedly not accepting QMJHL assignment is a huge game changer. Sabres handled poorly, but that’s way too selfish.
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) January 11, 2014