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Grigorenko called-up; must earn playing time

Tuesday, 10.23.2007 / 5:40 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Grigorenko called-up; must earn playing time
DETROIT – The Red Wings called up rookie forward Igor Grigorenko from Grand Rapids on
Igor Grigorenko beats Lightning goalie Marc Denis to give the Red Wings a 3-2 win in a preseason shootout last month.
Tuesday.

The former second round pick in 2001, Grigorenko, who has spent the first three weeks of the season with the team’s AHL affiliate in western Michigan, skated Tuesday morning with the Wings at City Sports Arena.

Grigorenko’s call-up to Detroit was made possible by the delay in the return of Johan Franzen (knee) to the line-up, which won’t likely occur before the end of the month.

In five games with the Griffins, Grigorenko was held without a point. Still, the Red Wings believe that he has tremendous potential at the NHL level.

“He’s in a situation here that’s straightforward,” coach Mike Babcock said. “The bottom line is that the best 20 players get to play. We’re in the winning business. If he’s one of them, great, if he’s not, no problem.”

A big problem for Grigorenko has been the language barrier. His English is extremely limited, and in Grand Rapids, he was the lone Russian on the Griffins’ roster.

At least in Detroit, he has countryman Pavel Datsyuk to help interpret.

“He won’t be alone without a translator (like) in Grand Rapids,” Datsyuk said. “He’ll get lots of practice here. He has good hands, but he needs to get a lot faster. It’s a little bit more harder for him after the accident. Before then he skated well. Now he needs to come back, but every year he gets better for sure.”

Grigorenko, 24, was involved in a near-fatal auto accident two years after the Red Wings selected him with the 64nd overall pick in 2001. The accident left him with fractures throughout his left leg.
Asked if he thought Grigorenko is in better physical condition then when he arrived for training camp last month, Babcock said, “He’s probably in better shape than he was. We’ll see and I’ll keep watching.”

As for cracking the line-up, Grigorenko will be competing with fourth line forwards Matt Ellis and Aaron Downey for ice time. Babcock indicated that Grigorenko must earn playing time, just as others have done.

“If someone has a bad game and someone is working their butt off, they’re the first one in – absolutely,” he said. “Ellis has gone from a guy who played very little to not dressing to playing to playing well to having three or four points and being a plus-four. It’s called a work ethic.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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