A crazy Tuesday for Buffalo Sabres rookie Mikhail Grigorenko went like this: It started with a great morning but morphed into what looked like a largely forgettable night until it was turned around by the moment everyone in town was waiting for.
The Sabres released the pressure but increased the expectations on the 18-year-old with one simple conversation Tuesday morning, when General Manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff told him he was staying in the NHL and not returning to junior hockey.
Grigorenko responded by getting benched in the second period after he was on the ice for all three of the Toronto Maple Leafs' goals to that point. He reset himself in the second intermission and scored his first NHL goal at 7:10 of the third period to draw the Sabres even in their eventual 4-3 overtime loss to the Leafs.
"After the second period, I didn't have any emotion. I was really down," Grigorenko said. "I was having a game where things didn't work well for me. In the third period, they put me on the ice and I started to play really good. I scored a goal and it took me away from all the pressure."
Grigorenko staying put, scores to cap crazy day
Buffalo News | Jan 30