Jun 24, 2012, 8:56 PM EDT
In a first round where many teams loaded up on defense, the Buffalo Sabres grabbed two intriguing forward prospects in Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko. With all due respect to “The Latvian Locomotive,” Grigorenko probably has the most potential to make a huge impact on the team. He also might make a solid first impression if his ode to a great former Buffalo Sabres forward works out, as Slava Malamud reports.
“Mikhail Grigorenko wants to know whether he can wear # 89 in Buffalo, in honor of his hometown hero Alex Mogilny.”
You don’t see enough No. 89’s in the NHL, really – especially guys who weren’t born in 1989.
Grigorenko isn’t just scoring nostalgic cool points, either. Many wonder about the depressingly oft-cited “Russian factor” with a guy like him.* Will a coach with a grating (OK, rough) style like Lindy Ruff’s rub him the wrong way? Grigorenko told Malamud that he’s OK with a rather “direct” approach.
“He’s a tough coach, but Roy wasn’t soft either,” Girgorenko said. “If a coach doesn’t demand a lot, he isn’t good coach.”
Last summer’s off-season splurge didn’t work as well as the Sabres hoped, but their recent youth movement is looking interesting. Grigorenko and Cody Hodgson are recent additions who might just be of the “blue chip” variety.
That being said, Grigorenko will need to produce some serious fireworks if he hopes to remind us of Mogilny in a more substantial way than wearing his number.
* Not just the transfer/KHL issues, but also the knee-jerk talk about “not caring.”
- Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7 1
- Lightning get taken to ‘school of hard knocks’ in third-period collapse 3
- A storm brewing: Rangers rally to force Game 7 with Lightning (Video) 10
- Video: Lundqvist stones Stamkos with left-pad save 0
- Bob Clarke really doesn’t care for tanking 34
- Hitchcock re-signs for one more year in St. Louis 9
- Ducks win crazy Game 5, push ‘Hawks to edge of elimination 32
- WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Ducks, Game 5 of Western Conference Final 3
- In the playoffs, sometimes it comes down to the ‘bounces’ 4
- Now feels like a good time to debate Stamkos’ next contract 38
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (75)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)