BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko knew the Sabres were short one forward and had the Colorado Avalanche, a team led by legendary goalie Patrick Roy, his former junior coach, coming up on the schedule.
Grigorenko, who played in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Winnipeg before getting returned to Rochester, wanted to get recalled again badly.
“I was hoping I would get called up, especially that game against Colorado against Patrick,” Grigorenko said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “I saw him … at the morning skate. He said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ It was a big smile on my face just to see him. So I’m really excited for tonight.”
Update: Johan Larsson has also been recalled to replace winger Matt Moulson, who’s sick, according to multiple reports.
Tonight will be just Grigorenko’s second NHL game in 13 months. The Russian, the No. 12 pick in 2012, played Friday in Rochester, where he has scored seven goals and 19 points in 29 games. He was summoned this morning.
A strong training camp helped Grigorenko get his career on track. Now, he’s one of the Sabres’ top prospects again.
“I did a 360 turn on when I got here last year to this year, particularly in training camp and what he did with his off-ice conditioning,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “The way he performed during training camp, arguably he was one of our best players.”
Check back later for more on Grigorenko, who will center Cody Hodgson and Chris Stewart. Hodgson will move back to the left wing from center.
Meanwhile, defenseman Josh Gorges (left pinky) will return from a two-game absence. Defenseman Tyson Strachan (lower body) will sit.
Nolan said forward Cody McCormick (lower body) could play Sunday or Tuesday. Defenseman Mike Weber (knee surgery) is “real close” and could also play before Christmas, Nolan said.