BUFFALO, N.Y.-No decision has been made about the future of 18 year Mikhail Grigerenko with the Buffalo Sabres. The Russian center went through an optional practice with the team Monday morning at the First Niagara Center.
Grigerenko has completed his five game tryout. The Sabres now must determine if he is to stay with them or return to his junior team in Quebec. After the morning skate he told Two On Your Side's Stu Boyar "you know I'm not the coach and I won't decide if I'm staying or not. I think I did everything I could. I've done a lot of work and I'm working really hard here."
The Sabres do have some options. They could keep Grigerenko here and scratch him. Once he's in the lineup for his sixth game he has to remain with the team for the remainder of the season. Head coach Lindy Ruff said after practice "I thought he held up pretty good in last night's game. He had a great opportunity to score and played his most minutes of any game. He was good with the puck. Defensively, you know there's some adjustment from the way they play in junior to the way we play and we're working with him and want to just continue to work."
Defenseman Tyler Myers who was in a somewhat similar situation when he was younger said "I don't think they officially told me I was staying. I was in the lineup for the eleventh game so I was happy to see that. I definitely need that extra year but the way Mikhail has come in, big body with a lot of skill he looks like he fits in with this team."
The Sabres are home Tuesday night against Toronto. They have lost three straight games. Leading scorer Thomas Vanek skated Monday during the team's optional skate after missing Sunday's game against the Caps with a muscle strain. Vanek said "I felt a lot better today than I did yesterday so we'll see how it feels tomorrow." Vanek added "if its just the game tomorrow and then you have four days in between you think about it a little harder but since we play every other day or back to backs there's no point to playing at 70 or 80 per cent because you are not going to help the team. You don't want to have a setback and instead of missing one game miss five or six games."
Ruff said after a meeting with Vanek he was optimistic Vanek would be able to play Tuesday against Toronto. The Sabres will try to snap a three game losing streak when they host the Leafs at the First Niagara Center. Faceoff is scheduled for 7-pm.