GRIGORENKO LOANED TO QUEBEC REMPARTS, HODGSON AND LEINO READY TO RETURN
Buffalo Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan broke the news after the team's practice Saturday morning at Riverside Ice Arena that the organization has loaned rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko back to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Nolan said he was part of the discussions along with president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine and new general manager Tim Murray. He also said they believe the move is the best thing for Grigorenko’s long-term success.
“We’re not looking at what he can do for us now. We’re looking at what he can do for us down the road and when he develops. He’s only 19,” Nolan said. “…Development is crucial. In talking with Tim and Pat, that’s what we really want to do, is develop.”
After speaking with Grigorenko, Nolan hopes the young center will see playing in the QMJHL as a good opportunity.
“He was a little bit upset, I would imagine, but this is non-negotiable,” Nolan said. “It’s one of those things that has to be done.”
Cody Hodgson and Ville Leino were full participants in the Buffalo Sabres’ practice at Riverside Ice Arena on Saturday and are expected to play Sunday afternoon against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.
Hodgson has missed the past eight games with an upper-body injury and was officially activated from injured reserve after practice.
“I’m really excited. It’s great,” Hodgson said. “The team’s been getting a lot of points, especially at home, so it’s good to watch and learn some things about the team and how I can fit in a little better.”
Leino has been out for three games with a lower-lower body injury.
“You don’t want players to get hurt, but once in awhile when they do and they have to rest their bodies, they come back with some renewed energy,” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. “They seem both ready to go today.”
With Hodgson and Leino ready to return, the Sabres returned center Johan Larsson to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
“He played really well for us,” Nolan said. “He’s going to be a good player for us but we just need him to get on a consistent basis.”
Sporting a red non-contact jersey, center Cody McCormick practiced with the team for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury on Dec. 17. He’s currently on injured reserve and has missed the past 10 games.
Defenseman Brayden McNabb was also back with the team after being sent down Friday to play a game with the Amerks.
Ryan Miller is looking forward to getting back between the pipes for Buffalo. Jhonas Enroth was supposed to start Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, but when that game was postponed to Feb. 25 due to inclement weather, Enroth started the team’s next game on Thursday against Florida.
Miller hasn’t played since Jan. 4.
“That was a little strange. It’s kind of why I wanted to get some work in today,” Miller said. “I was actually trying to find some ice yesterday and couldn’t find anything. A little too much time around the house, just trying to get everything going and get ready for an afternoon game.
[It was] kind of an odd week for me, but these are things you prepare for and you look ahead for and just be ready to go.”
Nolan said he has not yet had any direct conversations with Murray about removing the interim tag from his title. For now, he’s focused on his day-to-day duties of coaching the team.
“Like I’ve mentioned before, one of these days, I hope it [is lifted], but it’s not one of my things I’m thinking about,” Nolan said. “It’s trying to get this team better right now and coaching this team to the best of my ability. Whatever happens down the road will happen and I feel confident in my ability, but we’ll see.”
The Sabres announced Thursday morning that they had hired Murray and in the few days he’s gotten to know him, Nolan said he’s been impressed by the new boss.
“I really like him. He’s direct. He knows people, he knows hockey players,” Nolan said. “As a coach, you want a person who’s going to load your arsenal up with some good talent. The only thing we have to do down the road is just open the gate and let them go.”
26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
9 Steve Ott - 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
23 Ville Leino – 65 Brian Flynn – 17 Linus Omark
82 Marcus Foligno – 24 Zenon Konopka – 37 Matt Ellis – 32 John Scott