By Mike Harrington
WASHINGTON -- We'll be heading over to the Verizon Center in a couple of hours for the Sabres' morning skate and to preview the expected return of Patrick Kaleta to the lineup tonight against the Capitals. Saw through Twitter a link to a story on Mikhail Grigorenko's return to Quebec (his lone remaining regular season game is this afternoon), and there's some pretty interesting French translation.
Here's the story that appears in today's editions of La Presse (and thanks to the handy-dandy Google Translate from the French).
In the story, Grigorenko is gracious to the Sabres for the chance to play in the NHL, to veterans like Jason Pominville and Steve Ott for helping him through the season. He revels in the fact he got to play against the likes of Steven Stamkos and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Then there's the issue of ice time. Darcy Regier said Friday they couldn't just give it to him until he earned it. Pffft. Like Jochen Hecht and Drew Stafford, to name two, have earned all their ice time this year. Grigorenko played six minutes or less in four of his final eight NHL games, including a season-low 4:51 Tuesday against the Rangers. He knows he'll get lots more under Quebec coach Patrick Roy.
"Playing five minutes per game, is not enough for anyone," Grigorenko said. "You do not have the time to show nothing. I have sometimes thought of asking [to be put] back in junior because I had not the chance to play there. I hope Patrick uses me more than five minutes."
Regier admitted when I asked him Friday that the best level for Grigorenko right now would be the AHL, but the rules don't allow that until the Remparts are eliminated from the playoffs. If the Sabres fire-sale it in April, I'd probably run the kid to Rochester for an AHL playoff run to see how he'll do there before bringing him back to the NHL.