Mikhail Grigorenko should play Monday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Grigorenko energized by return to Sabres

BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko has been playing real hockey games since August. Counting NHL, junior and Team Russia appearances, the 18-year-old Sabres rookie estimates he has skated in 85 contests this season.

Grigorenko insists he’s in “real good shape,” though. Under normal circumstances, a nine-month season would be trying.

“But I always changed places,” Grigorenko, who’s in his second stint with the Sabres, said this morning after practicing inside the First Niagara Center. “All the time it’s been like new challenge, new season. I came back here and all my emotions, they just started all over again. I feel really good.”

With Patrick Kaleta (hand) out Monday, Grigorenko will make his 23rd NHL appearance and first since March 12.

A month back with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts helped the center’s confidence.

“I feel really prepared now,” Grigorenko said. “I already have some experience. I had a good playoffs. I’ve gotten my confidence back.”

Check back later for a longer story on Grigorenko.

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