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Grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko has played nine AHL games this season. ©2014, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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ROCHESTER – Finally, almost two years after the Buffalo Sabres drafted him 12th overall, center Mikhail Grigorenko has landed in the AHL.

Just weeks before his 20th birthday, the prospect too good for junior but too green for the NHL has settled in nicely with the Americans.

The Amerks closed the regular season 7-1-1 with Grigorenko, who recorded his four assists in his first three appearances.

But numbers aren’t important right now.

“Maybe the thing that I’m most happy about is his consistency,” Amerks …

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Mikhail Grigorenko played two AHL games last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In a not-so-surprising move, the Sabres today assigned 19-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko to the Rochester Americans.

The Russian’s junior season with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts ended last week, making him eligible to play in the AHL.

Interim coach Ted Nolan hinted Saturday the Sabres would send Grigorenko to the Amerks, where he played two playoff games last season.

Since he had junior eligibility left, the NHL rejected Grigorenko’s AHL conditioning assignment in November. The Sabres eventually sent Grigorenko, the 12th overall …

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Dominik Hasek received a special saber for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – One current Sabre, forward Matt Ellis, played with legendary goalie Dominik Hasek, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame prior to Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center.

Ellis played 16 games as a rookie with Detroit in 2006-07, Hasek’s 15th NHL season. Incredibly, Hasek posted a 2.05 goals-against average and .913 save percentage as 42-year-old that year.

“He was a great teammate, someone as a young player coming in watching …

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Ville Leino couldn't skate this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – What the heck is going on with Sabres forward Ville Leino?

Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said the Finn, who left Thursday’s 6-1 loss in Nashville early after experiencing some lightheadedness, was evaluated and came to this morning’s skate.

“He was doing OK and then just before going on the ice he didn’t feel very well again,” Nolan said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center.

Nolan said Leino will go …

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Tyler Myers just served a three-game suspension. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Defenseman Tyler Myers’ absence was glaring during the waning minutes of Tuesday’s 4-3 home loss to Philadelphia. The Buffalo Sabres sorely needed a sturdy presence to calm the game down as the Flyers scored three times.

Myers, who returned from a three-game suspension in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs, had been showcasing a steady, aggressive game prior to his ban.

“I think a lot of that is just bringing a confidence that you’re going to control the …

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Pat LaFontaine smiles Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The old school part of hockey, Pat LaFontaine said, is earning your keep. There has to be a standard. Players must perform consistently once they crack the NHL.

LaFontaine, a Hockey Hall of Famer, skated on the fourth line as a teenage NHL phenom. Legendary New York Islanders coach Al Arbour wouldn’t let him take a defensive-zone faceoff for years.

Former general manager Darcy Regier gave 19-year-old Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko a roster spot during the summer. The team’s new …

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Pat LaFontaine talks this afternoon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The old school part of hockey, Pat LaFontaine said, is earning your keep. There has to be a standard. Players must perform consistently once they crack the NHL.

The Sabres didn’t believe 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, who had been awarded a roster spot by the previous regime, was ready to play in the NHL, so they sent him back to junior Saturday.

“We’re doing what we think is best to develop our players and care for them and what they …

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Drew Stafford hasn't played since Jan. 2. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan spoke bluntly Monday about 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, who refused an assignment to junior Saturday before accepting it a day later.

“We can’t control what people do and what they say, but we can certainly control how we’re going to run this organization and what we feel is necessary for the development of young players,” Nolan said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center. “The …

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Mikhail Grigorenko changed his mind Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Interim coach Ted Nolan spoke bluntly today about prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, who initially refused the Sabres’ assignment to junior before accepting it late Sunday.

“We can’t control what people do and what they say, but we can certainly control how we’re going to run this organization and what we feel is necessary for the development of young players,” Nolan said following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “The tail can’t wag the dog; the dog wags the tail.

“We feel …

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Mikhail Grigorenko initially balked at leaving the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Prospect Mikhail Grigorenko has informed the Sabres he will be reporting to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

The 19-year-old center initially refused the assignment to junior Saturday.

“He and I had talked about it quite a bit,” Jay Grossman, Grigorenko’s agent, told the Times Herald by phone late Sunday. “I think that it was fair to say there were some real serious concerns about the development process of this player. Going down to Quebec, he’ll have played for his seventh coach …

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