Grigorenko Getting Used to NHL Speed As Sabres Get Off to Good Start
The Sabres look to continue their hot start on Thursday night, as the team begins a home-and-home series with the Hurricanes in Carolina. YNN's Don Heins was with the team at Wednesday's morning skate - and has a look at how these upcoming games affect the organization's top prospect.
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Hockey Tonight returns to YNN every Wednesday night throughout the season. We'll have the latest on the Sabres, analysis from former player Andrew Peters, plus the Amerks, local colleges and more. The show airs at 6:30 p.m. with a 10:30 p.m. replay.
It hasn't translated on the score sheet, but Mikhail Grigorenko says he's adjusting well to the NHL.
"Everything's going well for me. I've kind of adjusted to this level, to this speed. Now I just need to bring my skill to this level."
That skill being a scoring ability. The Sabres have three more games to decide whether or not to keep the 18-year-old for the season.
He's getting solid minutes as the third line center - but has yet to record a point. There will be more that goes into the decision than scoring production.
"We want to do what's best for us to win hockey games. At the same time, we're thinking about his development and his career. There's lots of different ways of going about that," said head coach Lindy Ruff.
In the short term, Grigorenko may be getting a new partner in his development. Nathan Gerbe jumped on the young center's line at practice on Wednesday. Gerbe's recovering from offseason neck surgery and has not been officially cleared to return to the lineup, but does hope to play in Carolina. There's a feeling that his presence could help out a young player like Grigorenko.
"I've got to use my speed and use my quickness to get on the forecheck and give my chances away, and try to create some chances for him and Steve (Ott)," Gerbe said.
"That's just that skill feeding off skill. Gerbs is the type of guy who can get (Grigorenko) the puck when he needs to. Hopefully we can find some early chemistry starting tomorrow," said Ott.
That's a Thursday 7 p.m. faceoff in Carolina.