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Grigorenko gets first chance under Nolan; Three other young players will sit vs. Flyers

By Mike Harrington

PHILADELPHIA -- There weren't many tea leaves to be read from the Sabres' optional pregame skate today in Wells Fargo Center until interim coach Ted Nolan peeled back some layers to his thinking and revealed how he's reshaping the lineup for tonight's game against the Flyers.

---As Nolan said yesterday, Rochester callups Luke Adam and Brayden McNabb are in.
---Nolan said 21-year-old defenseman Mark Pysyk and young wingers Corey Tropp (24) and  Brian (25) will sit.  Pysyk and Flynn had played all 23 games this season
---And then the bombshell:  Mikhail Grigorenko is back in the lineup and will make his debut under Nolan tonight.

Grigorenko, whose conditioning assignment to Rochester was nixed yesterday by the NHL, was not expected to play tonight. But Nolan said today the 19-year-old was insistent that he was ready and able, a stance he took with reporters yesterday as well when he asked about the illness that he said had hindered  some of his conditioning.

"We're going to give him a good look," Nolan said "You have to give him some credit. He's the one who said, 'You haven't seen me play yet.' He said it to us three or four times yesterday. We'll see him play and see what he has. He's a young, up-and-coming player who's going to be important in our organization. We have to be sure we put him in a good place and see what he has."

Grigorenko has two goals,  both coming Nov. 8 in Anaheim, and an assist in 15 games. He confounded both Lindy Ruff and Ron Rolston with his lack of grit on the ice and that's certainly something Nolan will be watching for tonight. 

What if it's more of the same in that area?

"It's the same thing raising your children at home," Nolan said. "You ask them to do something and if they don't do it, you take certain things away. Here, it's ice time. If he doesn't compete, he won't get out there too much."

Nolan had  praise for Pysyk, Flynn and Tropp and said they simply need to work on their consistency. Pysyk was minus-3 in Tuesday's loss to St. Louis and Tropp was minus-2. Both are minus-8 for the season.

"Sometimes it's good to sit back. It's nothing to do with their lack of ability," Nolan said. "It's just the maturity has to come at the right time. They'll get back in the lineup."

Click below to hear more of Nolan's thoughts from early this afternoon.

Ted Nolan


Mikhail Grigorenko | Sabres game day | Ted Nolan
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |