There are plenty of ways to endear yourself to new teammates. Some players buy dinner. Others might score a goal.
Braydon Coburn was acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning to beef up their defense, likely by doing the dirty work. Getting in fights might not be at the top of that list of tasks, but he did so with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno on Tuesday:
Mikhail Grigorenko is back on his way to the bigs.
The Russian forward, Buffalo’s first-round pick (12th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled to the Sabres from AHL Rochester, the club announced on Tuesday.
Also headed up from the Amerks are forwards Tim Schaller and Jerry D’Amigo.
The trio has been brought up to replace Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell and Chris Stewart, all three of whom were traded at Monday’s deadline. Between those departures and the injuries to Josh Gorges, Zemgus Girgensons and Patrick Kaleta (Evander Kane too, lest we forget), Buffalo will be icing a forward group that projects to look like this:
Matt Moulson-Tyler Ennis-Brian Gionta
Marcus Foligno-Mikhail Grigorenko-Cody Hodgson
Johan Larsson-Phil Varone-Zac Dalpe
Nicolas Deslauriers-Schaller-Matt Ellis
D’Amigo would be the 13th forward, presumably.
As for Grigorenko, most eyes will likely be on him as he gets another stint with the parent club. He’s been good in Rochester this year, scoring 31 points in 38 games, but only had one goal and one assist in 12 games with the Sabres earlier this year. His last NHL game came on Jan. 9.
Poll: Rush to a judgement and tell us who won the trade
Buffalo and Winnipeg pulled off a blockbuster deal on Wednesday, with the Jets sending Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, a pair of prospects and a first-round pick in 2015.
The trade happened an hour ago, which is about 45 minutes more than it takes to unilaterally declare the winner and loser. Hey, don’t blame me. You know how this works.
Anyway, here are some things to consider.
Why Buffalo won
• You could make the argument Kane was the best player in the deal and, as the old adage states, whoever gets the best player wins. Numerous teams across the NHL expressed major interest in getting Kane but Buffalo acted first and strongest; GM Tim Murray pounced on a situation where the Jets didn’t have much leverage and, as a result, obtained a dynamic, 23-year-old, goalscoring power forward with a good contract (signed through 2018 at $5.25 million per.)
• Kane’s out 4-6 months following shoulder surgery, which means he can’t improve Buffalo’s on-ice product in the present. That keeps the organization on track in the McEichel Derby.
• Buffalo shipped out Myers, who appeared to lack the mental and physical fortitude to be an elite, shut-down, No. 1 defenseman. In Bogosian, they get a physical blueliner that’s actually younger than Myers and under contract through 2019 (with a slightly smaller cap hit: $5.14M to Myers’ $5.5M).
• Per Murray, the untouchable prospects were Sam Reinhart, Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Ristolainen and Marcus Foligno. So he managed to retain all of them while moving Joel Armia (who was drafted under the Darcy Regier regime) and Brendan Lemieux, a second-round pick.
Why Winnipeg won
• They got Myers, who desperately needed a change of scenery and will be asked to do less in Winnipeg (which still has the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tobias Enstrom on defense) than he did in Buffalo (which has one of the NHL’s weakest bluelines.) Myers was also highly coveted across the league.
• They ship out a distraction in Kane, who caused rifts in the dressing room and well-publicized issues with teammates. Could be addition by subtraction, to a certain degree.
• They actually added depth for their playoff run. Roster-wise, Myers is a straight swap for Bogosian and since Kane wasn’t going to play again this year, Drew Stafford — a three-time 20-goal scorer — is a nice get for the top-nine forward group.
•They added Armia and Lemieux to a prospect base that already boasts Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey and Nic Petan.
Sabres’ Hodgson a healthy scratch vs. the Islanders
“It’s the same thing, we’ve got to get more out of him and right now it’s not working, so we’ll let him watch,” said Sabres coach, Ted Nolan. “I don’t think anybody is a lost cause, it’s just not working for whatever reason and when you go through it you’ve got to do your own soul searching and find out what makes you work and fit in.”
Marcus Foligno, who has missed 19 games with a hand injury will take Hodgson’s spot in the lineup.
Its not the first time Hodgson has been a healthy scratch this season. He missed the Sabres’ game in Vancouver on Jan. 30.
Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski was booted early in Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres because of his late and questionable hit to Brian Gionta. The Buffalo Sabres forward spun 180 degrees in midair and nearly landed head-first onto the ice.
Sabres forward Marcus Foligno promptly fought Bartkowski in defense of his teammate, but Foligno suffered an upper-body injury in the process. Gionta was also out for the remainder of the game, although the Sabres haven’t revealed if he sustained a concussion.
There were immediately questions as to whether or not Bartkowski would face additional discipline for his actions, but the NHL has no plans to schedule a hearing, per CSN New England’s league source. The shoulder was reportedly determined to be the principal point of contact and Bartkowski’s clean record might also have been a factor.
You can see the hit for yourself and the sparring match below:
If there is indeed no hearing, Buffalo News writer Mike Harrington would have strong reservations about that decision:
If there's nothing from NHL on Bartkowski-Gionta, it's time for the #Sabres to raise some holy hell and speak up. That should be 1-2 games.