Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 10/27/07 at 07:29 AM ET
Not sure if his dirtbag agent Mark Lapush is headed with him, but Igor Grigorenko’s days in the United States—and as a member of the Organ-I-zation—have drawn to a disappointing close. According to the anti-digger, Bruce MacLeod, it was eventually the Hasek hip “irritation” that forced the decision. When the Wings brought up Howard, someone had to go and Uncle Mike’s too pleased with Ellis or Downey to send them down.
What an ironic lesson for Grigorenko, if you think about it. Two gritty scrappers work their tails off to stay on the team and you’re headed home because you don’t have the ethic to compete on a consistent basis.
The team assigned him to Grand Rapids after Friday’s win over San Jose and Grigorenko refused to report as is his contractual right. Grigorenko’s contract has an out-clause allowing him to play in Europe if he stays longer than three weeks in the minor leagues ... and he’s already spent three weeks in Grand Rapids.
Grigorenko will play in the Russian Superleague with Ufa Salavat Yulayev and the Red Wings will maintain his rights. The Russian, who doesn’t speak English, shook hands with teammates after Friday’s game, nodding his goodbyes.
A sad scene, the head nodding. The farewells, the silence because Grigorenko doesn’t know how to say “see ya” in English. Never learned it. Blame the “I”, blame the kid, blame the leach of an agent. Whatever the case may be, whoever gets the blame, there was a missed opportunity along the way here. Someone failed. And away he goes. But, let’s be clear about something else here too. He doesn’t have to go to Russia. He could choose to stick it out in GR, pay his dues, prove that he’s willing to work hard and learn the North American game.
But he’s not. You don’t think Igor Grigorenko and his family want to stay in the States? You think he’s relieved to go back to Russia?
Or does he not realize he has a choice. The biggest question of this whole episode, to me, will always remain…what the hell has his agent been really telling him?
Holland hopes Grigorenko comes back to training camp next season in better shape and said he needs to work on his quickness.
“He would like to be a Red Wing,” Holland said. “We’ve told him we’re going to watch him all winter. He now knows what the NHL is all about.
“I think if he gets in better shape and gets a quick step ... he’s got hands, he’s got hockey sense. But he’s got to give himself a chance to play to his strengths. If you can’t get to the puck ... “
Pavel Datsyuk, serving as a translator for Grigorenko, who does not speak English, said Grigorenko wasn’t angry about the turn of events. Datsyuk said Grigorenko didn’t want to return to Grand Rapids because he thought he would play more in Russia and “now he knows” what is expected.
Does Grigorenko intend to return for training camp next season?
“Him dream of come back,” Datsyuk said. “He work more harder and try to come back and make the team next year.”
Speaking through teammate Pavel Datsyuk, Grigorenko’s interpreter, Grigorenko said he now understands what to expect from the NHL.
“The speed and the small rinks,” said Grigorenko, of what he felt the biggest adjustments were. “I need to work harder and get more speed.”
Grigorenko said he intends to come back next season and try the NHL again.
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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org