By John Vogl
WASHINGTON -- The Sabres are getting ready to face the Capitals this afternoon, but plenty of attention is still focused on a player who is not going to be on the ice.
Coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon he had no inkling that Mikhail Grigorenko would decide not to report to his junior hockey team. Nolan joined Pat LaFontaine, the president of hockey operations, and General Manager Tim Murray in explaining the demotion decision to Grigorenko on Saturday.
"We knew obviously players would be disappointed when things like that happen, but no, no indication that he wouldn’t report," Nolan said in Verizon Center. "Tim and Pat will take care of that. I’ve got this group of guys to worry about who are here."
Neither Murray nor LaFontaine made the trip to Washington, so there was no comment from the team. Grigorenko has deleted the Facebook post he put up explaining his decision.
"I have no idea on what he’s going through or what he made his decision on or anything like that," Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk said. "Whatever decision he makes, it’s up to him.
"When you’re a younger kid in junior, your mind sort of wanders. You think you can do whatever, but it’s obviously tough to get here."
As far as the game, Nolan said John Scott will likely be a healthy scratch. Ryan Miller will start in goal, while the Capitals will counter with Philipp Grubauer. He is 6-2-3 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
To hear Nolan's pregame chat, click the audio file below.