BUFFALO – Fresh off a five-goal, eight-point performance in seven games with Russia at the world junior championship, center Mikhail Grigorenko will be rejoining the Sabres soon.
But will the 19-year-old stick in the NHL or go somewhere else?
“He’s coming here for Pat (LaFontaine) and I to discuss,” interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said following practice today inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll make that decision when he gets here.”
Nolan, however, acknowledged he would prefer to have Grigorenko develop outside the NHL now.
“We’re leaning that way, yes,” he said.
Nolan said “there’s some mixed reviews” about Grigorenko’s performance in Sweden, which helped the Russians earn a bronze medal.
“I think that’s a problem with some young players, that consistent factor,” he said. “He played great at moments and not so well at other moments. But certain players take a little longer to get that consistency. We have some players in the league that are like that.
“That’s what development’s all about. Once he learns that consistent part of his arsenal, he’ll be a great player for us.”
In other news, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers, who has a phone hearing today with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his hit to Dainius Zubrus’ head in Saturday’s 2-1 win, said he “was expecting at least something” because he was penalized on the play.
“I don’t want to say too much until I have my phone call,” Myers said. “It’s just one of those plays where being aggressive. I came out of it with a phone call.”
With Myers and Henrik Tallinder (lower body) out, Nolan joked the defensemen can “bank it off the glass and see what happens.”
Nolan also said center Ville Leino (lower body) is “more on a day-to-day basis than he was before.” Leino sounded like he would miss his third straight game Tuesday. Nolan wasn’t sure if the injury’s related to Leino’s old hip problems.
Meanwhile, forward Kevin Porter (lower body, six games) is “getting a little bit better,” Nolan said.
“I think he should be almost ready to hop on the ice here shortly,” he said.
Nolan said Porter didn’t have surgery.
Center Cody Hodgson (hand, seven games) is the closest injured player to returning, Nolan said.
“Cody’s probably winning that footrace to get back,” he said.