Mikhail Grigorenko

Russian team accused of partying during World Juniors, Sabres’ Grigorenko responds


Mikhail Grigorenko has responded to accusations that Russia’s World Junior team has been enjoying too much of the nightlife.

Grigorenko angrily denied claims made by Alex Semak — the former NHLer, now coaching Russian junior club Tolpar — that members of the team were out late at nightclubs and restaurants throughout the tournament.

“It’s sad to read such nastiness in the media,” Grigorenko told Russian media outlet Sportbox.ru. “Nail Yakupov is bad. Mikhail Grigorenko is bad. The hockey is bad. I don’t know what game he was watching.

“All the guys are giving everything on the ice and can’t be blamed.”

Russia’s had an inconsistent tourney, deemed a disappointment by many given 1) it’s talent-laden roster and 2) the fact it was the host nation.

The Russians blew out Germany and defeated a American team that will play for gold on Saturday, but needed shootouts to beat Slovakia and Switzerland. They also lost 4-1 to Canada in their final game of the group stage.

In the semifinal against Sweden, Russia started sluggishly, getting out-shot 14-2 in the opening frame while falling behind 2-0. The Russians rallied to tie and send it to a shootout, only to see the Swedes win on a Sebastian Collberg goal.

As for Semak — well, he wasn’t done with the accusations.

He went on to suggest Grigorenko was two years older than the rest of the field at the WJC (see here and here). Whispers about the legitimacy of Grigorenko’s age have come up before, only to be quashed after a thorough investigation.

As expected, the Sabres prospect didn’t take too kindly to those accusations either.

“Who is he? A coach? Of what club? Tolpar? Never heard of such,” he said of Semak. “It seems that the man just didn’t get the job he wanted and he’s now happy that we’ve lost.”


Uh oh, people are already calling Yakupov a “prima donna”

Yakupov keeps Canada-Russia analysis tame after controversial remarks

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).