Tonawanda News

Sabres

November 21, 2013

NHL blocks Sabres bid to send Grigorenko to AHL

NHL blocks Grigorenko move to AHL

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko was back in Buffalo on Wednesday after the NHL blocked the team’s attempt to send the rookie to the minors on a two-week conditioning assignment.

In reaching its decision, the league cited its agreement with the Canadian Hockey League preventing teams from assigning players with junior eligibility to the American Hockey League.

“We determined that the assignment would not have been consistent with our obligations under the league’s agreement with the CHL,” NHL spokesman Frank Brown wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Interim coach Ted Nolan accepted the league’s ruling, which came a day after the Sabres demoted Grigorenko to their AHL affiliate in Rochester N.Y., for conditioning.

“We thought we were doing it by the rulebook, but unfortunately we weren’t,” Nolan said. “Now he’s back with us. We’ll have to sit down and evaluate what the next step is.”

Players remain on their NHL team’s roster and are paid their full salary during conditioning stints, which last no more than 14 days.

The question became whether the 19-year-old Grigorenko qualified for assignment.

The ruling limits the Sabres’ options in determining how to develop a player who has had difficulty earning regular ice time in Buffalo. Grigorenko has two goals and one assist in 15 games this season and had missed two straight games and five of seven as a healthy scratch before being assigned to AHL Rochester.

The Sabres must now choose between keeping Grigorenko on their roster and returning him to his Canadian junior team in Quebec.

Rather than preparing to play against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday, Grigorenko practiced with the Sabres in Buffalo before the team traveled to Philadelphia for a game against the Flyers on Thursday.

Nolan said he had not yet determined whether Grigorenko would play.

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