BUFFALO – For the time being at least, 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko is back with the Sabres following a one-month stint in junior.
The Russian center practiced this morning inside the First Niagara Center and will travel with the team to Boston. Grigorenko will likely sit Wednesday’s game against the Bruins, though.
Rather than sending Grigorenko to AHL Rochester, where he’s now eligible to play with the Quebec Remparts’ season having ended last week, the Sabres want to watch him compete during big league practices.
“Now he’s got to come back here and earn what he gets,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said he told Grigorenko in March the Sabres would recall him after the QMJHL season. Regier received good reports from Remparts coach Patrick Roy.
“Attitude-wise, Patrick said he had a great attitude and worked,” Regier said. “I think they had a very good, tough first round. He played very well. The second was tough, not only on him but on the team. It had a lot of ups and downs.”
Grigorenko, who had five goals and 14 points in 11 postseason games, said he’s glad he went back to junior and played big minutes. He had been a regular healthy scratch in Buffalo.
“I played a lot there, 20 minutes every game, picked up some confidence,” Grigorenko said. “It was a good experience.”
Grigorenko “wasn’t really surprised” the Sabres sent him back to junior after 22 games. Still, he “didn’t really expect that.”
“Sometimes I was thinking about maybe they would do it to me,” Grigorenko said. “I wasn’t really playing here. So that’s what they did, and I think it was a really good decision.”
In other news, Rolston said he hasn’t decided whether Ryan Miller or backup Jhonas Enroth will start in goal Wednesday. Enroth won two games over the weekend while allowing one goal.