Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- The Sabres prospects got a whole different type of practice on Thursday.
Ted Nolan retained skating coach Dawn Braid and she put the two groups through a few hours of power skating.
Sam Reinhart was given a “maintenance” day and did not practice. He's been hit very hard throughout this camp by Zemgus Girgensons and Jordan Samuels-Thomas.
Chadd Cassidy has been very complimentary of Mikhail Grigorenko this camp. He’s liked what he’s seen this week and he likes the work Grigorenko has been putting in in Quebec City. The young Russian said, “I think this year it’s been more intense and more physical. The compete level is higher than previous years.”
Grigorenko has certainly not had it easy his first two season of professional hockey because he’s been shuffled all over and forced to play on many different teams. His poor attitude and sense of entitlement did not help the situation, but that’s something he now realizes, “I lot of it comes from your head, it’s a lot of mental. I just want the puck and I’m not going to let it go. Probably the transition from junior hockey to men’s hockey was a little tough for me, but I think I got over it and I think it’s now going to be good.”
Puck possession is important to winning hockey games. I know that sounds obvious, but if it was easy, every team would be doing it well. Cassidy says Grigorenko has improved greatly when he doesn’t have the puck. Coaches want to see how players go about getting the puck back. Grigorenko said, “I’m learning how to play without the puck, learning how to get the puck as fast as I can and just be around the puck. I need to have the puck as much as I can and to spend as less time as I can without it.”
Grigorenko is a big point producer when playing against junior players, but it hasn’t translated yet in the pro game. He’s only 20 years old, but he knows he must start to get numbers, “I need to produce a little bit more with more points. I need to just appreciate everything like being in the room with the guys and being on the ice, even if it’s just for five minutes, I have to do something in those five minutes and earn more ice time.”
Grigorenko is trying to become a big part of the main core that Tim Murray is building. The center said this group of young players is going to be good, “Yes for sure, I think we have a great group of young guys here and probably we’re not going to all play this year, but in the really near future, we’ll be able to play for a Stanley Cup each and every year for like 10 to 15 years in a row we’ll always be there.”
Camp ends after Friday’s 3-on-3 tournament which again is open to the public.