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Russian team accused of partying during World Juniors, Sabres’ Grigorenko responds

Jan 4, 2013, 3:59 PM EDT

Mikhail Grigorenko Getty Images

Mikhail Grigorenko has responded to accusations that Russia’s World Junior team has been enjoying too much of the nightlife.

Grigorenko angrily denied claims made by Alex Semak — the former NHLer, now coaching Russian junior club Tolpar — that members of the team were out late at nightclubs and restaurants throughout the tournament.

“It’s sad to read such nastiness in the media,” Grigorenko told Russian media outlet Sportbox.ru. “Nail Yakupov is bad. Mikhail Grigorenko is bad. The hockey is bad. I don’t know what game he was watching.

“All the guys are giving everything on the ice and can’t be blamed.”

Russia’s had an inconsistent tourney, deemed a disappointment by many given 1) it’s talent-laden roster and 2) the fact it was the host nation.

The Russians blew out Germany and defeated a American team that will play for gold on Saturday, but needed shootouts to beat Slovakia and Switzerland. They also lost 4-1 to Canada in their final game of the group stage.

In the semifinal against Sweden, Russia started sluggishly, getting out-shot 14-2 in the opening frame while falling behind 2-0. The Russians rallied to tie and send it to a shootout, only to see the Swedes win on a Sebastian Collberg goal.

As for Semak — well, he wasn’t done with the accusations.

He went on to suggest Grigorenko was two years older than the rest of the field at the WJC (see here and here). Whispers about the legitimacy of Grigorenko’s age have come up before, only to be quashed after a thorough investigation.

As expected, the Sabres prospect didn’t take too kindly to those accusations either.

“Who is he? A coach? Of what club? Tolpar? Never heard of such,” he said of Semak. “It seems that the man just didn’t get the job he wanted and he’s now happy that we’ve lost.”

Related

Uh oh, people are already calling Yakupov a “prima donna”

Yakupov keeps Canada-Russia analysis tame after controversial remarks

  1. travishenryskid - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    It’s pretty obnoxious how these kids get treated if they don’t win the gold. Canadians are treating their team like a national embarrassment right now because they lost ONE game. The Russians underwhelmed but are still playing for bronze. What are the Finn’s saying about there squad right now. It’s a tough tournament with only one winner.Slinging nasty accusations is embarrassing.

    • jernster21 - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      I don’t buy the fact that it’s because they lost the game, but the fact that they straight up got destroyed. Nothing about their play was respectable at all – they just didn’t show up and for a country that has such high expectations of their national teams, that’s why they’re getting treated the way they are, fair or not. The fact that it was at the hands of the USA is just salt in the wound.

      • nyrnashty - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        “The fact that it was at the hands of the USA is just salt in the wound.” Why is it salt in the wound? Are we in a war with each other or something??? If we lost to Canada in basketball, I would laugh and say good for them! I don’t get why Canadians get all Nazi when playing us in hockey like they do. Always talking junk on the internet. We’re friendly neighbors get over it internet thugs.

      • travishenryskid - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        They would say the same thing if it were the Russians.

    • chef24g - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      No canadian is embarrassed buy how or team did. We lost to the better team that day….

  2. thedavesiknowiknow - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Eh. I don’t know. It would be one thing if this hadn’t been a problem in the past. Granted, under different circumstances (after winning the gold medal): but the Russian team did manage to get hammered (and kicked off the flight home) a few years ago when the tourney was held in Buffalo. Of course, there were accusations it had been going on the entire time with them. So I get the criticism, as well as the accusation. Yakupov and Grigorenko (particularly) definitely failed to live up to being the “premier” forwards on a team built primarily on front-end talent: for what reason can only be speculated.

    I definitely agree that people need to ease up on these kids (Canadians in particular), but still when the character of the majority of the team comes into question- it would be nice to see some accountability, rather than petty insults (as it appears Grigorenko responded with) in these “young athletes”. Something maybe us Sabres fans may have to deal with in the coming years with Grigorenko…..

    • travishenryskid - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      Grigorenko particularly? Somebody obviously didn’t watch the tournament. Grigorenko and Kucherov carried the Russians and were the only ones to show up when it mattered. Grigorenko was arguably the best forward in the tournament.

      • thedavesiknowiknow - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Who’s that somebody? The most impactful play I saw Grigorenko make was the shootout goal. Speaking solely on statistics- he wasn’t even a top 10 forward in the tourney. The best forwards in the tournament were either from Finland (who were a let-down), or Gaudreau. Yeah dude, I watched.

      • travishenryskid - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        And I find it baffling that you are quick to criticize Grigorenko for “petty insults” yet take no issue with what was said about him first. Somehow I doubt if someone personally attacked you with flat out lies (which in this country he could take legal action over), you would just say “you know, I need to take accountability for what he said.” It’s ridiculous you would suggest that. Sad, really.

      • travishenryskid - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:52 PM

        Exactly, you didn’t watch. Tying goal against Sweden. Tying goal then tying assist vs. Swiss. Face off win on the tying goal against Slovakia with a minute left that would have been an assist here, but not in intermational tournaments. Most SOG in the tournament. I’m not going to debate this with you. If you don’t know, you don’t know.

      • thedavesiknowiknow - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        Cool “braj”. Have an “epic” graduation!

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