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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
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80