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Hockey This Week

Sabres Report | Sabres Draft Pick Wants to Honor Mogilny. By Dan Benton

Hockey This Week

Hockey This Week

Buffalo Sabres Draft Pick Mikhail Grigorenko Wants No. 89 to Honor Alexander Mogilny
Hockey This Week  

Should Mikhail Grigorenko crack the Buffalo Sabres’ roster, the blue and gold’s No. 1 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has said he’d like to wear No. 89 in honor of his hometown hero.
Grigorenko hails from Khabarovsk, Russia, which happens to be the same native city of possible Hockey Hall of Famer Alexander Mogilny. In an interview with Sports-Express, Grigorenko said he hoped the Sabres would let him wear Mogilny’s No. 89 in homage:
“I’m going to follow in his footsteps – from Khabarovsk to CSKA Moscow, CSKA Moscow of the Buffalo. After so many years. I hope that now, as he will score 76 goals. Maybe I will give it the 89th number?”
No Sabres player has worn 89 since Mogilny was traded to the Vancouver Canucks prior to the 1995-96 season, but that could be just as likely due to the number’s unorthodoxy as to the fact that team trainers are reluctant to issue it.
Whether the 18-year-old can make the NHL club remains to be seen, but Darcy Regier said the team intends to sign him soon so that he can at least gain pro experience at the AHL level in Rochester. He scored 85 points in 59 games last season in junior hockey in Quebec. That output is unlikely in the pros, but Grigorenko’s falling draft status (he was rated as high as No. 2 on many draft boards) would seem to give him some extra motivation to excel.
Head coach Lindy Ruff is traditionally reluctant to bring young players up to the NHL level so quickly, but he made an exception in 2011-12 with first-year pro Marcus Foligno (who scores six goals and seven assists in 14 NHL games), so it can’t be ruled out.
“I don’t think it’s fair to put it on these young fellas to step in immediately and contribute,” Regier said Monday. “I understand and respect it may be a possibility. There’s always suprises, and certainly Mikhail will have that opportunity.”
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