No one figured that Mikhail Grigorenko would be a healthy scratch for the Buffalo Sabres for too long. He was taken out of the lineup for a single game as the Sabres played the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 10. That wasn’t too surprising, given his dwindling minutes through the squad’s first four games.
TOI for Mikhail Grigorenko this season: Game 1: 13:08 Game 2: 12:52 Game 3: 11:30 Game 4: 8:07 Game 5 Tonight: Scratched #Sabres
— Buffalo Sabres Stats (@SabresStats) October 10, 2013
You have to find a way to be an impact in a game. It’s his ability to put himself in positions where he can use those skills. That means you’ve got to go to the puck, you’ve got to get the puck, you’ve got to support the puck, you’ve got to be around the puck, you’ve got to battle for the puck. You can stickhandle in a phone booth and that doesn’t really translate unless you can be an impact on the game.
He’s a young player. He’s still learning those things and how to do that, be impactful at this level, and how that’s changed from junior hockey to pro hockey. It’s a learning process.
Buffalo had high hopes for the ultra-talented center this season after watching him struggle mightily in 2013. He hasn’t impressed yet though, and still appears lackadaisical in his approach to the game. That’s bad news for the Sabres, as that was precisely the knock on Grigorenko that dropped him out of the top-five picks in 2012.
He has all-world talent, but has yet to figure out how to make an impact on the game when the puck isn’t on his stick. He’ll be back on the grind tonight, and a step up from him would be a huge plus for a Sabres team that desperately needs some sort of positive step forward.