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.”